With billions of dollars on the line, Bayer survey finds flaws in kidney disease communication, diagnosis

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) should be among the top health concerns of diabetes patients. Yet, while around 1 in 3 adults with diabetes has CKD, a Bayer survey of healthcare professionals shows that people are often unprepared for their diagnosis and that communication needs to improve. 

Bayer, which won approval for Kerendia in CKD associated with Type 2 diabetes in 2021, worked with market research company MedSurvey to survey 1,000 healthcare professionals (HCPs). The survey found that 84% of HCPs agree patients with Type 2 diabetes are often unprepared for their diagnosis of CKD, and that 88% of HCPs see a need for clearer and more transparent language about kidney disease risks. 

The failings of current efforts to educate patients about CKD risks are clear in the survey data. Most, 89%, of the polled HCPs said people don’t understand their increased cardiovascular risk once they are diagnosed with CKD. Bayer has linked Kerendia to reduced risk of cardiovascular death.

If Bayer is to fulfill its $3 billion sales forecast for Kerendia, it will need a flow of new CKD patients. The survey suggests there is room to improve the patient pipeline, with most HCPs agreeing that the medical community could diagnose people earlier. 

Sixty-two percent of primary care physicians are using estimated glomerular filtration rate blood tests to assess kidney function at least every few months. However, use of urine albumin-creatinine ratio (UACR) tests is rarer, with 30% of primary care physicians and 57% of nephrologists regularly using the tests. U.S. guidelines call UACR the easiest way to screen for albuminuria, a key factor in diagnosing CKD.

Bayer framed its generation and publication of the survey data as part of a push to improve diagnosis and ensure people receive optimal care. Establishing Kerendia as part of the go-to treatment regimen in the indication would boost Bayer’s prospects at a time when it is seeking to establish new growth drivers to offset the loss of exclusivity on its blood thinner Xarelto and eye drug Eylea.

Sales of Kerendia hit (PDF) 107 million euros ($115 million) in 2022, its first full year on the market. Bayer is going up against SGLT2 inhibitors, namely AstraZeneca’s Farxiga and Johnson & Johnson’s Invokana, and ran its first TV ad last year to support its push for market share.