Objective: To estimate the social costs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and gout from the patient's perspective.
Methods: We carried out a cross-sectional analysis of the cost and resource utilization of 690 RA, AS, and gout patients from 10 medical centers and private facilities in five cities of Mexico. The information was obtained from the baseline of a dynamic cohort. We estimated out-of-pocket expenses, institutional direct costs, and direct medical costs.
Results: The mean (SD) annual out-of-pocket expense (USD) was $610.0 ($302.2) for RA, $578.6 ($220.5) for AS, and $245.3 ($124.0) for gout. Figures correspond to 15%, 9.6%, and 2.5% of the family income. They also represented 26.1%, 25.3%, and 24.4% of the total annual cost per RA, AS, and gout patients, respectively. The expected direct institutional patient/year costs were 1,724.2 for RA, $1,710.8 for AS, and $760.7 for gout. The total patient annual costs were $2,334.3 for RA, $2,289.4 for AS, and $1,006.1 for gout. Most out-of-pocket expenses were used to purchase drugs, pay for laboratory tests, imaging studies, and alternative therapies.
Conclusions: From the patient's perspective, the cost of RA, AS, and gout represents 25% of direct medical costs. The cost of RA is higher than that for AS and gout.