The president of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) testified before Congress earlier today in an effort to generate more scientific innovation in kidney disease research through a federal prize competition, according to a press release.

“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,” Sharon M. Moe, MD, testified before the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

Medicare costs for kidney failure under the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Program account for nearly $35 billion annually. While patients with ESRD make up less than 1% of the Medicare population, treatment constitutes 7% of the program’s budget.

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 “We must incentivize the development of therapies that give the ESRD program greater value for the taxpayers’ contribution in terms of lower expenditures on care and better outcomes for patients,” Dr. Moe said.