Sevelamer, or more precisely ‘sevelamer hydrochloride’, is a weakly basic anion-exchange resin in the chloride form that was introduced in 1997 for the treatment of the hyperphosphataemia of patients with end-stage renal failure, usually those on long-term haemodialysis. The rationale for this therapy was that sevelamer would sequester phosphate within the gastrointestinal tract, so preventing its absorption and enhancing its faecal excretion. Over the succeeding years, large numbers of patients have been treated with sevelamer, and it has fulfilled expectations in helping to control the hyperphosphataemia of end-stage renal failure. However, it is only one of many anion-exchange resins that could be used for this purpose, some of which are currently available for clinical use and are much less costly than sevelamer. Theoretical considerations suggest that some of these other resins might be at least as efficient as sevelamer in sequestering phosphate in the gastrointestinal tract. Neither sevelamer, nor any of these other agents, has been submitted to a proper metabolic balance study to measure the amount of phosphate sequestered by the resin in the bowel, and without this information it is impossible to judge which is the ideal resin for this purpose.