How to Save on Medication for Kidney Disease Treatment
high drug prices
Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that about 1 in 7 Americans (37 million people, or about 15%) have chronic kidney disease (CKD). To make matters worse, it’s estimated that 9 in 10 Americans that have chronic kidney disease don’t know they have CKD, and 2 in 5 don’t know that they have severe kidney disease.
As such, chronic kidney disease is now considered the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S.
There are many underlying health conditions and external factors that can cause chronic kidney disease — it’s not typically a case of your kidneys simply deciding to stop working properly. Unfortunately, this can make the process stressful as causes are narrowed down and treatments are attempted.
As one would expect, determining a diagnosis of CKD and the way in which your doctor chooses to treat it can be both expensive and time consuming. By the time you figure out how you’re going to proceed, you’re likely concerned about how you’ll maintain your treatment plan while paying off the bills you already owe from the diagnosis phase.
The cost of chronic kidney disease can be extraordinary, but the good news is that you can save money on your CKD medication.
What is Chronic Kidney Disease?
The main purpose of your kidneys is to filter your blood. In fact, your kidneys — each the size of a standard computer mouse — filter all the blood in your body every half-hour and turn the toxins and waste into urine.
Because these vital organs cleanse the body of things it doesn’t need, poorly functioning kidneys means that toxins and waste can build up in our system. This excess can lead to a host of health problems, some of which are less serious and may not give a clue about poor kidney function (anemia, getting infections more frequently, loss of appetite, high blood potassium levels, and depression). However, others are very serious and even life-threatening, like heart disease and stroke.
The kidneys also perform other essential functions, such as regulating blood pressure and pH levels, and making red blood cells and vitamin D (which is essential to bone health). Suffice it to say that poor kidney function, and then chronic kidney disease, can have a debilitating domino effect on your body.
The difficult part of CKD is that the symptoms aren’t necessarily obvious, and if they’re slight, you may not even notice, or you may attribute them to something else entirely. Remember that statistic that says most people with CKD don’t even know that they have it?
When you realize that the symptoms can be easily explained away by a different ailment or consider that someone might not have insurance and can’t get to the doctor, it’s not nearly as shocking as it may seem at first.
The Cost of Chronic Kidney Disease
Like any other prescription drug or medical treatment in the United States, cost is a major (and extremely valid) concern. In 2018, the U.S. spent $3.6 trillion (yes, trillion with a T) on healthcare — far more than most countries.
Of this assessment, Medicare alone spent $81.8 billion on CKD treatment in 2018. When you take out the prescription drug component and focus on end-stage renal disease (ESRD), also called kidney failure, total Medicare spending reached $36.6 billion, accounting for about 7% of total Medicare spending.
It makes sense that Medicare would be spending a large amount on chronic kidney disease because the risk of developing CKD increases with age. According to CDC data, about 38% of people aged 65 or older have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, compared to only 12% of people aged 45-64 and only 6% of people aged 18-44.
Out of all the possible factors contributing to CKD, diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure (about 75% of cases). While high blood pressure can be treated with relatively affordable medication (thanks to competitors driving the price down and plenty of consumer choices), the same cannot be said for diabetes medication — particularly if extra insulin is required to regulate blood sugar.
And of course, most disease that is caught earlier (rather than later) is less expensive to treat. Chronic kidney disease treatment is far more affordable when you’re trying to lower blood pressure and make adjustments to your diet than it is to go into a center for regular dialysis treatments — and definitely less expensive than a kidney transplant.
Here are three of the most common kidney disease treatment options, what condition they help fight, and how much you can expect to save if you’re buying through an international and Canadian online pharmacy site like NorthWestPharmacy.com.
Common Kidney Disease Treatment Options
Kidney stones are one of the most common forms of kidney problems. They can be acute and solved with a change in diet, or they can be chronic in that the body forms them more easily. If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, you know they can be incredibly painful to pass, and in rare cases need to be removed surgically.
Though painful and generally awful, they don’t typically cause larger health concerns. However, if someone gets them on a chronic basis, there may be larger concerns in play. In some cases, it’s a matter of the body not making substances that prevent crystallization, or you have an overabundance of the substance that forms crystals.
Urocit-K (potassium citrate — a potassium salt mineral) is often prescribed for people with kidney stones, particularly calcium oxalate or uric acid stones. Potassium citrate works as a urinary alkalinizing agent to neutralize the urine to prevent stones from forming.
In the United States, you’re only likely to find the generic version, which is relatively affordable by comparison to a lot of other prescription drugs. For a 30-day supply at the 10 meq (milliequivalent) dose, the cash price starts at about $52.00, which works out to be about $1.73 per pill.
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell the generic at the same price — but for a 100-day supply, which works out to be just $0.52 cents per pill.
If you need the brand name medication, we sell it for about $88.00 for a 100-day supply at the 10 meq dose. We also sell doses of 5 meq and 15 meq of the brand product.
Sensipar (cinacalcet) is an oral calcimimetic that is used to slow down overactive parathyroid glands. Parathyroid glands are four very small glands (each about the size of a grain of rice) located near the thyroid gland. Their entire purpose is to regulate calcium levels in the blood and bones.
This relates back to chronic kidney disease if the parathyroid glands are leaving too much calcium in the body, which is called hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia can then lead to kidney stones. Furthermore, kidney failure can cause secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT), which essentially perpetuates the cycle.
Generally speaking, the only way to actually fix overactive parathyroid glands is surgery. However, not every person is suited for the surgery, and in these cases, Sensipar is prescribed to help until the person is ready for surgery, or a different treatment path is decided upon.
People with CKD who are already on long-term dialysis are among the population that are not suitable for this surgery, and therefore Sensipar is the next logical step in their CKD treatment plan.
Brand name Sensipar is rather expensive. In the United States, you can expect to pay a cash price of about $870.00 for a 30-day supply of the 30 mg tablets. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell the same dose in the same quantity for about $393.00 — a savings of a significant amount of money.
Fosrenol (lanthanum) is a phosphate binder drug that is often prescribed for patients with ESRD. As chronic kidney disease progresses, your kidneys are less able to filter out phosphorus.
When phosphorus levels get too high, you can develop hyperphosphatemia, which means that your body will then alert your parathyroid glands to find more calcium to balance the two minerals out. However, this usually occurs by stealing calcium from bones, which weakens them.
Phosphate binders act like a magnet for phosphates that you consume in your food so they can be filtered out more normally. By keeping phosphorus levels more normalized, your body is less likely to pull calcium from important areas of the body. Fosrenol should help save your bones and vital organs while you’re waiting for a kidney transplant.
Because phosphate binders are designed to work with the phosphorus in food you consume, it’s best to take these pills with your food, or immediately afterward. They typically come as chewable tablets but can also be sometimes found in a powder form.
In the United States, Fosrenol (like nearly every other medication) is expensive and depending on your doctor’s recommendation based on your condition, you may need to take more than one per day. In fact, some people take them with every meal.
The cash price for 30 chewable 500 mg tablets in the U.S. is about $423.00, and if you’re looking at the powder form, it can be as much as $1,150.00 for a pack of nine 1,000 mg packets.
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell 90 chewable 500 mg tablets for $284.00.
As for the generic form, it’s certainly more affordable. In the U.S. 30 chewable 500 mg lanthanum tablets cost about $240.00. But at NorthWestPharmacy.com, we sell the this medication in the same quantity for significanly less -- about $50.00.
How Canadian Online Pharmacies Can Save You Money
The stress of chronic kidney disease is enough to worry about — you shouldn’t also have to worry about how you’re going to get your medication at a price that is even remotely affordable. Skipping doses or foregoing your medication altogether will only exacerbate your CKD, which will not only be more expensive later, but can have deadly consequences.
For these reasons (and so many more), Americans have been turning to online international pharmacies for years now. There are a number of CIPA-certified online pharmacies out there, but we’re confident that NorthWestPharmacy.com is the best, regardless of whether you’re looking for OTC medication, pet meds, or life-saving CKD treatment.
If you’re new to the world of international and Canadian online pharmacies, we make placing your first order simple and user friendly. We can assure you that we’re here every step of the way for you.
At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we’re dedicated to patient safety and dispensing accuracy — so much so that we only source our prescription drugs through CIPA-certified suppliers. This allows us to ensure the proper chain of custody and control during every step of the process.
Additionally, we’re completely committed to providing stellar customer service. While most businesses are cutting back on call centers in favor of automated services (i.e. press 1 to check on your order), we maintain and continue to invest in our team of customer service representatives who are highly trained and very knowledgeable.
It’s important to us that you can get a hold of us easily. Therefore, our call center is open every single day for our customers’ convenience at 1-866-539-5330. If you have a question outside of regular business hours, you can always email us.
But of course, we’d love to talk to you if you feel more comfortable having someone on the phone with you. (Truly, our customer service team is renowned for going above and beyond the call of duty.) We look forward to hearing from you soon.