Rheumatoid Arthritis is a costly condition
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects 0.5% to 1.0% of adults in industrialized societies, with 0.5 to 1% incident cases per 100,000 population each year. This chronic, systemic, inflammatory disorder causes erosive damage to articular cartilage and subchondral bone, with joint swelling, deformity, pain, stiffness, and fatigue. Many patients with RA experience diminished health-related quality of life as well as increased disability and cardiovascular and other forms of comorbidity.
Because of RA−related disability, reduced worker productivity, institutionalization, joint-replacement surgery, and increased use of durable medical equipment (DME), RA is a costly condition, accounting for annual health-care expenditures of approximately $128 billion in the United States. Although there is as yet no cure for RA, treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biological DMARDs (bio-DMARDs) has improved health outcomes.