In Malaysia, the number of patients with chronic kidney diseases (CKD) are on the rise, and they are looking at a possible lifetime of costly dialysis treatment. Among the biggest issues plaguing patients of CKD is anemia. In view of this, National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF) in collaboration with Roche Malaysia, a market leader in renal anemia, launched the Red Bean Assistance Program to help relieve the economic burden of CKD patients with anemia, especially from the low-income group. This program will be commenced in Klang Valley on 1st August 2019, and subsequently nationwide, starting on 1st January 2020.
The media launch for Red Bean Assistance Program was taking place at National Kidney Foundation Centre, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Present at the event were Datuk Seri Dr. Haji Dzulkefly bin Ahmad, Minister of Health Malaysia, Dato' Dr. Zaki Morad, Chairman of NKF, Mr. Lance Duan, General Manager of Roche Malaysia.
(L-R) Datuk Seri Dr. Haji Dzulkefly Bin Ahmad, Minster of Health Malaysia
Dato' Dr. Zaki Morad, Chairman of National Kidney Foundation
Mr. Lance Duan, General Manager of Roche Malaysia
at the media launch of Red Bean Assistance Program
Datuk Seri Dr. Haji Dzulkefly bin Ahmad welcomed the corporate responsibility initiative by NKF and Roche Malaysia. "The well-being of kidney patients cannot be taken lightly. The Red Bean Assistance Program will help to meet the needs of kidney patients especially since this is a growing issue around the world, including Malaysia," he added.
"I am pleased to see that the Roche Cares innovative co-payment program has now been extended for kidney patients," said Datuk Seri Dr. Haji Dzulkefly bin Ahmad. He stated more partnerships between funders and pharmaceutical players in the private sector are needed to reduce the public sector's healthcare burden.
"Kidney patients need long-term treatment and the cost to sustain dialysis is high, especially for those with renal anemia. While the burden is difficult to bear for most patients, the hardest hit are those from the low-income group. NKF provides support and treatment at our 28 centres nationwide with more than 1,700 dialysis patients to manage. On this note, we are glad to have Roche Malaysia as our partner to reach out to more patients beyond those currently receiving treatment at NKF," said Dato' Dr. Zaki Morad, Chairman at NKF.
To manage the health complications as a result of chronic kidney disease, each patient pays more than RM25,000 a year for treatment on average in Malaysia, according to the NKF¹.
Dato' Dr. Zaki Morad further commented, "Through this innovative, co-payment program, the cost of the patient's ESA treatment is co-shared between the patient, NKF and Roche."
"In Malaysia, Roche has a strong reputation as a market leader not only in oncological treatment but in chronic conditions, like renal anemia as well," mentioned by Mr. Lance Duan, General Manager of Roche Malaysia. He further explained that the Roche Cares program is a co-payment funding model introduced at the end of year 2018 to reduce the financial hurdle of breast cancer patients in accessng innovative medicines. "Basically, the model brings together various funders and Roche to share patients' burden of treatment cost," he added.
Under the Red Bean Assistance Program, Roche Malaysia and NKF will alleviate the financial burden for CDK patients by providing them with the treatment of an erythropoietin-stimulating agent (ESA) that signals the bone marrow produce more red blood cells². This innovative and once monthly medication simplifies renal anemia management for the patient³.
The name 'Red Bean' under the Red Bean Assistance Program was selected for its visual resemblance in shape and colour to a kidney. This program is expected to benefit more than 600 patients for the first year and 1,000 for the next 2 years, making it a total of more than 1,600 patients within the first 3 years. Patients who are currently receiving treatment outside of NKF and who require additional (ESA) to optimize their treatment are eligible to apply.
Red Bean Assistance Program
Patient Eligibility Criteria
- Malaysian citizens or Permanent Residents
- Have anemia associated with CKD (on dialysis and not on dialysis) and have been assessed by a qualified Nephrologist as suitable for ESA treatment
- Attend interviews by the NKF Welfare Department
- Agreeable to home visits upon request by the NKF Welfare Department
- Motivated and can present themselves for ESA administration at assigned NKF dialysis centres
- Inform the NKF Welfare Department if there are any material changes in their financial circumstances
- Commit themselves to co-operate with the ESA treatment requirements including returning to their referring nephrologist for outpatient clinic reviews and performing suitable blood tests every 3 months
- Inform NKF if their ESA treatment is changed for any reason
Chronic kidney disease patients (on dialysis and not on dialysis) from private or public treatment centres can apply for the Red Bean Assistance Program through any NKF centres around the country. For more information on the application process, please visit www.nkf.org.my or call NKF at telephone number +603-7954 0052 / +603 7954 0119.
¹Sourced from New Straits Time: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/06/248364/cheaper-dialysis-kidney-patients
²Silverberg DS et al (2011). The role of erythropoiesis stimulating agents and intravenous (IV) iron in the cardio renal anemia syndrome Heart Fail Rec 16:609-614
³MIRACEL Study. Flisher et al. Current Medical Research and Opinion 26(5): 1083-89