Objective: To explore public awareness of osteoporosis and willingness to manage the problem, with reference to a variety of socio-economic factors.
Design: Cross-sectional questionnaire study.
Setting: A public hospital and a private health care clinic in Hong Kong.
Patients: Two hundred and fifty postmenopausal women consisting of five equal cohorts recruited at random. The cohorts consisted of: patients with fragile fracture, their next-of-kin, patients (without fragile fractures) from a government primary health care clinic, patients from a government orthopaedic clinic, and patients from a private primary health care clinic.
Results: Only 81% of those interviewed had heard of the disease. Among these, 92% believed that the government was responsible for managing osteoporosis. Most (83%) were willing to self-finance treatment; a higher percentage were willing to do so among those with relatives having osteoporotic fractures. Most (87%) of the subjects underestimated the cost. Less than 40% expected to pay more than HK$ 1,200 annually. Given the current market price, only 66% would still consider undertaking the treatment. Notably, 99% of interviewees would commence treatment provided the cost was lower.
Conclusion: Direct costs of managing osteoporosis deter the public from commencing treatment. If the cost of treatment could be lowered and publicised, a dramatic increase in self-financed treatment can be anticipated.