Kidney health experts have welcomed the listing of Finerenone on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for people with diabetic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease is one of Australia’s most prevalent killers, affecting around one in 10 adults and poses an especially significant risk to those with diabetes.
In fact, one in three people living with diabetes will go on to develop kidney disease in their lifetime. But there is some hope for sufferers on the horizon.
Chronic kidney disease contributes to one in six hospital admissions and is estimated to be an underlying cause in 12 per cent of all deaths in Australia.
On 1 July, the drug Finerenone (also sold under the brand name Kerendia) was listed on the PBS, meaning it can be accessed cheaply by those with diabetic kidney disease. The drug has the potential to slow the progression of kidney disease and extend life expectancy for many individuals.
Finerenone works by blocking the production of a hormone called aldosterone, which is responsible for inflammation in kidneys and the heart. This inflammation is known to play a role in chronic kidney disease.
Chris Forbes, CEO of Kidney Health Australia (KHA), said increased access to any new treatment for kidney disease was good news.
“This will help people avoid the enormous costs of living with diabetic kidney disease and the progression to expensive and burdensome dialysis treatments in the future.”
Mr Forbes emphasised the importance of early kidney screening to head off the condition before it could cause real damage.
“Now is the time to introduce thorough early screening and intervention programs for people at the greatest risk of kidney disease – those living with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure,” he said.
“Greater availability of treatments for slowing chronic kidney disease means we have to do more to identify the 1.8 million Australians unaware they have signs of kidney disease and help them manage the condition from start to end.”
According to figures from Deloitte Access Economics, kidney disease costs the Australian economy $9.9 billion each year, including $2.3million in direct costs to the health system.
The figures also show that for every $1 invested in early detection of chronic kidney disease around $45 is saved in costs to the health system. Early detection of the disease can also prevent 38,000 deaths and avoid 237,000 hospital admissions.
Do you have trouble with your kidneys? Do you think this drug could help you? Let us know in the comments section below.