Patient access to rheumatoid arthritis treatments
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This paper is an introduction to the study “The Burden of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Patient Access to Treatment”. The objective of the study is to compare patient access to new drugs in Europe, North America and a selection of other countries, and to analyse the determinants of differences between countries, as basis for a discussion on how patients’ access to new and effective treatments can be improved. There were few treatments available that could affect the progression of the disease prior to the introduction of the first TNF inhibitors in the late 1990s. Since the cost per patient treated with these biological drugs is high compared to previously available treatments, reimbursement through private and public insurance is an important determinant for access to treatment.