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The Economic Consequences of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Analysis of Medical Expenditure Panel Survey 2004, 2005, and 2006 Data

Simons, W. Robert PhD; Rosenblatt, Lisa C. MD; Trivedi, Digisha N. PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31823c13e7
Original Articles

Objective: Determine the prevalence and costs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) during three consecutive years: 2004, 2005, and 2006.

Methods: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey was used for persons with RA. Regressions estimate health care costs and income loss. Absenteeism and age-adjusted workforce participation compared means and rates.

Results: The prevalence of RA was 0.40% in 2004, 0.44% in 2005, and 0.43% in 2006. Health care cost associated with RA was $4422, $2902, and $1882 (all P < 0.01) in 2004, 2005, and 2006, respectively. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers were employed, 36.8%, 39.5%, and 44% compared with 70.5%, 69.8%, and 71%. Individuals with RA also missed more days of work, 4.86 in 2004 (P = 0.04), 1.70 in 2005 (P = 0.22), and 2.99 in 2006 (P = 0.04). Rheumatoid arthritis reduced income by $2404 (P = 0.03), $2207 (P < 0.001), and $1212 (P = 0.002).

Conclusions: Costs of RA are considerable.

Author Information

From the Global Health Economics and Outcomes Research Inc (Dr Simons), Summit, NJ; and Health Economics and Outcomes Research (Drs Rosenblatt and Trivedi), Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ, E-mail:

Address correspondence to: W. Robert Simons, PhD, Global Health Economics and Outcomes Research Inc, 41 River Rd, Summit, NJ 07901.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine