Prague, Czech Republic – Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, progressive autoimmune disease associated with gradual destruction of bone and articular structures, loss of function, and joint replacements, all of which can result in significantly reduced quality of life and premature death.
A team of researchers from the Institute of Health Economic and Technology Assessment (iHETA) and the Institute of Rheumatology, in Prague, Czech Republic researched the relationship between costs and functional impairment in RA patients.
In the study, “Medical and Productivity Costs of Rheumatoid Arthritis in The Czech Republic: Cost-of-Illness Study Based on Disease Severity,” published in Value in Health Regional Issues, the researchers calculated the direct and productivity costs for five HAQ (the Health Assessment Questionnaire) groups of patients (<0.6, 0.6≥1.1, 1.1≥1.6, 1.6≥2.1, ≥2.1) in the Czech Republic.
In the Czech Republic, direct costs and productivity costs for patients with RA are closely related to the value of the HAQ score. The annual mean total (direct plus productivity) cost per patient treated (1) with biologics, (2) without biologic treatment, and (3) from the overall cohort was €14,763, €3,559 and €8,882, respectively.
This is the first study from an Eastern European country examining the costs of RA in relation to patient functional impairment and disease status severity. Jiří Klimeš, PharmD, Health Outcomes Manager at the Institute of Health Economic and Technology Assessment (iHETA) in Prague, and the lead researcher of this study, has been leading and performing projects on HTA (health technology assessment) and performing outcomes research activities for several years. Klimeš states, “The data we provide via this article could provide very useful inputs into health economic cost-effectiveness models in the RA field since, most of the RA models are based on functional impairment and defined by HAQ. Moreover, this plain insight about the expense of RA patients is very useful and provides utilizable information for health care decision makers.”
Dr. Klimeš is involved in presenting on both the local and European level the pharmacoeconomic aspects of various diseases in the Czech Republic, in particular rheumatic and rare diseases.
iHETA collaborates on research projects with number of institutions such as the Institute of Rheumatology and many university hospitals.