According to estimates, dialysis treatments cost the healthcare system approximately $60,000 a year per patient, compared with $23,000 for a kidney transplant, to which a further $6,000 a year must be added for anti-rejection drugs. Over a five-year period, the total cost of a kidney transplant is around $250,000 less per patient than dialysis. Beyond these figures, one also needs to take into account the improved quality of life enjoyed by transplant recipients, who can lead active lives and return to the labour market.
“From an economic standpoint, it’s obvious that kidney transplantation lessens the financial burden on our healthcare system. We should also remember that the strictly monetary costs associated with dialysis—those related to transportation, medication and loss of revenue – exact a heavy social toll as well: kidney patients have to undergo dialysis treatments three times a week just to survive and are often forced to withdraw from the workforce,” Dr. Yves Rabeau, professor of economics at UQAM.
The need to minimize the social and economic impacts of kidney failure in Quebec is urgent. The number of people suffering from the condition is on the rise, due mainly to the increase in diabetes and high blood pressure, which are precursors to kidney disease.
“We would like to see an increase in the number of kidney transplants. In fact, this particular avenue needs to be given priority within our healthcare system. It’s the solution that offers patients the greatest chance at a normal quality of life, not to mention the most economical option for society,” Dr. Michel R. Pâquet, chairman of The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Organ and Tissue Donation Committee.