Introduction: Economical impact of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been widely modified thanks to TNF inhibitors. Our study aims to estimate the impact etanercept prescription, in term of health resources consumption, within a regional cohort of French RA patients.
Methods: The study included 148 RA patients, with a mean follow-up duration of 343 days before and after etanercept initiation. Data were anonymously collected from ERASME database of French Health Insurance in Midi-Pyrénées region. A patient-by-patient microcosting approach was performed.
Results: The average annual cost per patient, attributable to RA, was 2.8 times higher after treatment by etanercept than before (15,148.57euro versus 5248.95euro). We observed a rise in pharmaceutical costs, from 11.7% of direct medical costs before to 69.7% after etanercept initiation (120.12euro versus 9995.23euro). We observed a small decrease particularly for NSAIDs (142.14euro versus 102.21euro) and physiotherapy (286.40euro versus 138.77euro). Attributable act costs and indirect costs did not differ before and after etanercept initiation.
Discussion: In this short-term study, initiation of etanercept in RA patients did not come along with a decrease of consumption of health resources. Long-term studies are needed to reveal a potential economical advantage as a consequence of the clinical, structural and functional efficacy of anti-TNF.