Objectives: To study the socioeconomic impact of rheumatic illness in Sweden and to discuss the consequences for technology assessment studies.
Methods: A cost-of-illness study based on data from official statistics and treatment studies.
Results: The total socioeconomic cost was 52 billion Swedish kronor (SEK) in 1994. The imbalance between direct (10% of total) and indirect costs (90 effectiveness of the healthcare sector, the need for new treatment methods, appropriate information systems, and technology assessment studies as well as the institutional arrangements for rehabilitation and basic medical research.
Conclusions: A discussion of solutions for financial cooperation between county councils and regional social insurance offices should be considered. The new biotechnological pharmaceuticals will increase the cost for drugs in health care about 20 times, but the total socioeconomic cost for society may remain at the same level due to a decrease of inpatient costs and indirect costs for loss of production as well as a decrease of transfer payments from social insurance. It is unavoidable that the new pharmaceuticals require priority discussions and active resource allocation in health care and in other sectors of society.