The financial impact of immunosuppressant expenses on new kidney transplant recipients

Elisa J. Gordon*, Thomas R. Prohaska, Ashwini R. Sehgal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: This study aimed to examine kidney transplant recipients'ability to afford transplant-related out-of-pocket expenses and the financial impact of these expenses on their lives. Patients and methods: This cross-sectional study involved 77 kidney recipients. Variables analyzed were: ability to afford daily necessities; impact of immunosuppressant expenses on patients' lives; awareness of Medicare support terminating threeyr post-transplant; and strategies used to pay for out-of-pocket transplant expenses. The Economic Strain Scale measured financial strain. Results: Twenty-nine percent of kidney recipients experienced financial strain. Poor, less educated, and younger patients were more likely to report financial strain. Out-of-pocket expenses relating to kidney transplantation adversely affected patients' ability to afford leisure activities (35%), a house (27%), and a car (26%). Thirty-one percent reported that immunosuppressant expenses have had somewhat to great (adverse) impact on their lives. Of those on Medicare and not disabled (n = 41), 51% were unaware Medicare coverage will terminate and 71% did not know how long coverage lasts. Conclusions: Financial strain presents a considerable risk to kidney recipients' ability to purchase immunosuppression. Socioeconomic disparities in recipients' financial strain may be a source of disparities in graft survival. Transplant professionals should better inform transplant candidates about financial consequences of transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-748
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008


  • Coping
  • Disease expenses
  • Finances
  • Health policy
  • Immunosuppressant
  • Insurance
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Medicare
  • Medication
  • Socioeconomic disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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