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The burden of rheumatoid arthritis and access to treatment: uptake of new therapies

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This paper presents data on international differences in use of TNF inhibitors. It is part of a study on burden and cost of RA, access to new therapies and the role of HTA in determining access and cost-effectiveness. United States has the fastest most extensive use of the new drugs, about three times the average in the western European countries and Canada. Eastern and central European countries as well as Australia, South Africa and Turkey lag far behind. However, some smaller European countries, most notably Norway and Sweden have use of the new drugs not far behind the United States. While the income level of the country, and thus the health care expenditures per capita is a major factor for determining use in low and middle income countries, there are still considerable differences among countries with similar high total health care expenditures. Differences in prices are considerable between the US and Europe due to the changes in exchange rates between the US dollar and the Euro, but high and low use is not systematically related to differences in price.

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Conflict of interest statement

This study has been funded by unrestricted grant from F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Basel, Switzerland.

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Correspondence to B. Jönsson.

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Jönsson, B., Kobelt, G. & Smolen, J. The burden of rheumatoid arthritis and access to treatment: uptake of new therapies. Eur J Health Econ 8 (Suppl 2), 61–86 (2008).

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