Simple, Cheap, Disruptive!

Saving Lives and Saving Healthcare Costs

An Ultra Low-Cost Hemodialysis System


Kidney failure kills ±230,000 people per year in India alone. The global burden of dialysis is growing as populations age and diabetes and hypertension increase. Dialysis treatment is too expensive for poor countries and the major global dialysis companies have strategies and cost structures aligned with their rich country customers and their $60-80,000 per patient annual costs. Even the lowest cost dialysis systems were not designed for low income markets and dialysis companies focus on profit per treatment.

There is a good opportunity for a disruptive technology which would still be profitable at an annual cost of 50-100 times less than the current cost in developed countries. This will be possible by 1) using a new business model which focuses on profit per reusable disposable set instead of profit per treatment, 2) by simplifying all aspects of the treatment and using local design and manufacturing, and 3) by using several innovative technical solutions. This approach could dramatically reduce the costs of dialysis globally. Once proven in low-income markets, these ideas and the knowledge gained can be adapted to compete in high income markets to reduce the cost of dialysis (dialysis costs Canada $2,2 billion/year.)

What is Dialysis?

Dialysis replaces the filtering function of the kidneys when they fail. Hemodialysis (HD), which is the most common treatment, uses an artificial membrane encased in a dialyzer to filter the patient’s blood. It requires access to the patient’s blood vessels via a surgically created vascular access (Arterio-Venous fistula or graft) or via a central venous catheter. The dialysis fluid (dialysate) passes on the other side of the membrane from the blood and toxins in the blood diffuse across the membrane due to the concentration gradient and along with water due to a pressure differential. The dialysate requires highly pure water and is produced by the dialysis clinic or even by the dialysis monitor (machine) at the patient’s bedside.