Objectives: To explore the change in direct medical costs associated with inflammatory polyarthritis (IP) 10 to 15 years after its onset.
Methods: Patients from the Norfolk Arthritis Register who had previously participated in a health economic study in 1999 were traced 10 years later and invited to participate in a further prospective questionnaire-based study. The study was designed to identify direct medical costs and changes in health status over a 6-month period using previously validated questionnaires as the primary source of data.
Results: A representative sample of 101 patients with IP from the 1999 cohort provided complete data over the 6-month period. The mean disease duration was 14 years (SD 2.1, median 13.6, interquartile range 12.6–15.4). The mean direct medical cost per patient over the 6-month period was £1496 for IP (inflated for 2013 prices). This compared with £582 (95% CI £355–£964) inflated to 2013 prices per patient with IP 10 years earlier in their disease. The increased cost was largely associated with the use of biologics in the rheumatoid arthritis subgroup of patients (51% of total costs incurred). Other direct cost components included primary care costs (11%), hospital outpatient (19%), day care (12%), and inpatient stay (4%).
Conclusion: The direct healthcare costs associated with IP have more than doubled with increasing disease duration, largely as a result of the use of biologics. The results showed a shift in the direct health costs from inpatient to outpatient service use.
- Antirheumatic Agents
- Arthritis, Rheumatoid
- Biological Products
- Health Care Costs
- Health Status
- Middle Aged