Objectives: To provide data on the economic burden and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) associated with systemic sclerosis (SSc) in France and to raise awareness of the repercussions of this disease for patients and caregivers and on the health and social care system.
Method: A cross-sectional study was carried out on 147 patients recruited through the Association des Sclérodermiques de France (ASF), the French association for SSc patients. Data on the patients' use of resources were obtained retrospectively from an online questionnaire and costs were estimated by a bottom-up approach. The HRQoL patients and caregivers was assessed with the five-level EURQol-5 Dimension (EQ-5D-5L) health questionnaire.
Results: The average annual cost of SSc was estimated at EUR 22,459 per patient. Direct healthcare costs amounted to EUR 8452, direct non-healthcare formal costs to EUR 1606, direct non-healthcare informal costs to EUR 1875, and indirect costs resulting from patients' absence from the labour market to EUR 10,526. The main contributors to SSc costs were hospitalizations and early retirement. Mean EQ-5D utility scores were 0.49 for patients and 0.66 for caregivers.
Conclusions: Although SSc is a rare disease, its economic burden from a societal perspective is substantial and the consequences for HRQoL are significant for both patients and caregivers in France, underscoring the need to develop tailored policies targeted at improving patients' care and reducing the long-term impact of SSc.