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Sharon Moe delivers congressional testimony on kidney disease

Apr. 10, 2014

An IU School of Medicine faculty member urged Congress to spur scientific innovation in kidney research through a federal prize competition April 9 in testimony before the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

Sharon Moe

Sharon M. Moe, M.D.

Sharon M. Moe, M.D., professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine, voiced support for federal prize competitions as a mechanism to incentivize new approaches to renal replacement therapy that could reduce escalating Medicare costs and improve care for the 450,000 Americans with kidney failure. Dr. Moe is president of the American Society of Nephrology.

“I feel strongly that current scientific knowledge in the understanding of the kidney is at a level that makes such life-altering innovation a real possibility,” Dr. Moe said. “I firmly believe American ingenuity is ready and willing to take this basic knowledge and turn it into a transformative, cost-saving technology that offers real hope for a better life to patients suffering through the current consequences of dialysis.”

About 20 million Americans are living with kidney disease, which is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, she added.

Dr. Moe’s testimony at the "Prizes to Spur Innovation and Technology Breakthroughs" hearing highlights how a federal prize competition for kidney disease would mobilize the development of new tools to address one of the costliest health care challenges the U.S. government faces today.

Nearly 450,000 Americans with kidney failure rely on the Medicare End-Stage Renal Disease Program for lifesaving dialysis. The program is the only federal health entitlement program that provides coverage regardless of age or disability. Caring for people with kidney failure costs Medicare nearly $35 billion annually. Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease account for less than 1 percent of the Medicare population, but their care constitutes 7 percent of the program’s budget.

“We must work together to innovate, to continually improve care, to help the millions of kidney patients become more productive citizens, and to contain the costs of the program. We must incentivize the development of therapies that give the End-Stage Renal Disease program greater value for the taxpayers’ contribution in terms of lower expenditures on care and better outcomes for patients,” Dr. Moe said. “ASN believes that a prize competition is a powerful lever that could significantly spur development of a novel kidney replacement therapy that is more efficient and cost-effective than current therapies and makes patients feel better

The chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology is Larry Buschon, M.D., who represents Indiana’s 8th Congressional district, which covers southwest Indiana from Terre Haute down to Evansville. The committee chair is Lamar Smith, who represents the 21st Congressional District of Texas.

Dr. Moe is also the director of the division of nephrology in the Department of Medicine at the IU School of Medicine

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