The burden of rheumatoid arthritis and access to treatment: health burden and costs

Eur J Health Econ. 2008 Jan:8 Suppl 2:S49-60. doi: 10.1007/s10198-007-0088-8.


As part of the study "The burden of rheumatoid arthritis and patient access to treatment", this paper reviews evidence on the health burden of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in terms of morbidity (DALYs), mortality (% of deaths attributable to RA) and quality of life (utility and loss of QALYs), as well as the economic impact on society. Based on available literature on the prevalence and the cost of RA, combined with economic indicators, the annual cost per patient as well as the total national cost is estimated for Europe and North America (Canada and the United States), as well as Australia, Turkey, the Russian Federation and South Africa. Total costs to society were estimated at <euro>45.3 billion in Europe and at <euro>41.6 billion in the United States. Utility scores were found to be amongst the lowest compared to other diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents / economics
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / mortality
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Global Health
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Accessibility* / economics
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years


  • Antirheumatic Agents