This paper uses the Cost of Illness (COI) framework to estimate the cost of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to society in the year 1992-93. By doing so, a clear insight is given into the many cost elements of RA treatment and monitoring. This paper estimates point prevalence rates of 2.06 and 6.94 1000 persons at risk for men and women, respectively, showing that prevalence is three times higher amongst women than men. Further to this, prevalence increases with age in both sexes, resulting in very high prevalence rates for RA amongst the elderly. The total economic impact of RA in England was estimated to be pounds 1.256 billion in 1992, of which 52% was a result of production loss caused by RA disability.