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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is estimated to have a financial impact into the tens of billions of dollars worldwide.

In recent years new rheumatoid arthritis drugs have been shown to increase the chances for remission, halting of the progression of joint damage and improve, or prevent, disability. Access to these drugs in developed countries varies greatly, with Eastern Europe having the least access to the medications.

Approximately two-thirds of the costs for rheumatoid arthritis is carriend by the patient. Besides the patient’s out-of-pocket expenses there is also a loss of productivity. Early retirement due to the disease is frequent, with up to 50% of those living with rheumatoid arthritis forced to leave the workforce and apply for a disability within ten years of the onset of the disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis has one of the biggest impacts on the quality of life of the patient.

The full article can be found in The European Journal of Health Economics.