The burden of rheumatoid arthritis and access to treatment: uptake of new therapies

Eur J Health Econ. 2008 Jan;8 Suppl 2:S61-86. doi: 10.1007/s10198-007-0089-7.


This paper presents data on international differences in use of TNF inhibitors. It is part of a study on burden and cost of RA, access to new therapies and the role of HTA in determining access and cost-effectiveness. United States has the fastest most extensive use of the new drugs, about three times the average in the western European countries and Canada. Eastern and central European countries as well as Australia, South Africa and Turkey lag far behind. However, some smaller European countries, most notably Norway and Sweden have use of the new drugs not far behind the United States. While the income level of the country, and thus the health care expenditures per capita is a major factor for determining use in low and middle income countries, there are still considerable differences among countries with similar high total health care expenditures. Differences in prices are considerable between the US and Europe due to the changes in exchange rates between the US dollar and the Euro, but high and low use is not systematically related to differences in price.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / economics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents / economics
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / economics
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Drug Costs
  • Etanercept
  • Global Health
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Expenditures
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / economics
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use
  • Income
  • Internationality
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Adalimumab
  • Etanercept