ASN Presents Remarks at Key CMS Meeting on ESA Usage

Full access

ASN was among a small group of invited presenters at the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) meeting to review available evidence on use of erythropoieis-stimulating agents (ESAs) to manage anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). MEDCAC provides independent guidance and expert advice to CMS on specific clinical topics.

Presenting on behalf of ASN, Wolfgang Winkelmayer, MD, ScD, FASN, delivered remarks at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) headquarters in Baltimore last month.

“We derive from the available evidence that current ESAs may be dangerous if used for overly aggressive treatment targets compared with practices that are compatible with current treatment guidelines,” Winkelmayer said. “Continued access to these medications is required, however, to give patients with CKD a fair chance at first receiving and then maintaining the function of a kidney transplant. Swift action is needed to support comparative effectiveness research that closes the evidence gap in the optimal role of ESAs in the treatment of relatively severe anemia and to more modest treatment targets while maintaining these patients transfusion-free.”

ASN members Rajiv Agarwal, MD, MBBS, FASN; Daniel Coyne, MD; and Joseph Messana, MD, served as a guest panelists on the MEDCAC panel considering presenters’ remarks and reviewing evidence.

Read a copy of the society’s remarks at ASN’s website at