Pharmaceutical News
80,000 dialysis patients cost NHI NT$50 billion a year

Director General of the NHI promoting renal transplant


The population of patients receiving dialysis treatments reached 80,000 last year.  The average treatment cost for a patient is NT$600,000.  However, patients’ survival rate is reducing as time advances.  The 5-year survival rate is just 56.2%.  Therefore, Lee Po-Chang, the new Director General of the NHI, has set a target to promote renal transplant in order to increase patients’ quality-of-life and survival, as well as to reduce NHI spending.


According to the NHI’s statistics, in 2015, the NHI spent NT$56.42 billion on dialysis treatment of 83,808 patients, and NT$0.98 billion on renal transplant of 3325 cases.


The NHI’s statistics also showed that during the period between 1995 and 2015, patients receiving dialysis treatment had a better 3-month survival rate than patients receiving renal transplant.  However, the gap was closing significantly as time advanced.   For patients receiving dialysis treatment, the 3-year survival rate was 70.2% and the 5-year survival rate was 56.2%.  However, for patient undergoing renal transplant, the 5-year survival rate was 90.2%.


A long wait for donated organs

 “Renal transplant is the best option; but the shortage of donated organs is the problem,” said Wang Chu-Yu, representing dialysis patient group.  He said he had been waiting for 11 years to finally receive a donated kidney.  Some patients have been waiting longer than he, and finally lost patience.


Dr. Chen Hong-Jun, the President of Taiwan Society of Nephrology, pointed out that patients with end-stage renal disease can opt for renal transplant from living donors.  However, it is difficult to find living donors as people are worried about the effect on their own health and their quality-of-life. 


Dr. Chiang Yang-Jen, the CEO of Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center, said that early renal transplant leads to good prognosis.  According to the data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, patients who have been receiving dialysis treatment for over 5 years before undergoing renal transplant are more likely to require longer hospitalization and develop infection or complications after transplantation.


Dr. Chiang suggests physicians should keenly inform patients of the option of renal transplant, as well as the pros and cons of dialysis and transplant.  The society should also have an open mind about organ donation in order to keep up an adequate supply of donated organs.


【2016-06-14/ United Daily News】