From the Arthritis Alliance of Canada. The Canadian Arthritis Patients Alliance strongly urges you to read the report and then to contact your Federal and Provincial politicians to demand action on this crisis now.
New Report Indicates Arthritis is a $33 Billion Burden on Canadians
Arthritis Alliance of Canada Calls for Governments, Healthcare Communities to Work Together
**QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 27, 2011 /CNW/ **- Although it has been described as an invisible disease, the impact of arthritis on the Canadian economy can't be ignored. A new report from the Arthritis Alliance of Canada (AAC) estimates that osteoarthritis (OA) - the most prevalent form of the disease - and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) costs the Canadian economy $33 billion through (direct) healthcare expenses and (indirect) lost productivity and taxes. The Impact of Arthritis in Canada: Today and Over the Next 30 Years provides a detailed look at the impact of arthritis and offers solutions on how to mitigate and manage the situation.
The report reveals many surprising findings about the prevalence of arthritis in Canada now and in the future, and the overall cost of the disease to the healthcare system, including:
- There are currently more than 4.4 million people living with OA. In 30 years, more than 10 million or one in four Canadians is expected to have OA. Within a generation (in 30 years), there will be a new diagnosis of OA every 60 seconds.
- There are currently more than 272,000 people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), comprising 0.9% of the Canadian adult population, which will increase to 1.3% over the next 30 years.
- At present:
- Arthritis drives $12.6 billion in direct healthcare costs ($10.2 billion for OA; $2.4 billion for RA) which represents healthcare expenses
- Arthritis drives $20.6 billion in indirect healthcare costs ($17.3 billion for OA; $3.3 billion for RA) which represents lost productivity and taxes
Which means that based on 2010 data, the burden of arthritis on the Canadian economy is $33.2 billion in direct and indirect healthcare costs. These numbers will only grow.
The report is being unveiled today at a scientific conference, in Quebec City, that brings together 400 members of the Canadian arthritis community who will spend the next two days discussing the findings of the Impact report as well as themes that include: the future of the arthritis community; inflammation in chronic diseases; the patient experience within complex disease management and care; epigenetics; rarer forms of arthritis; and, personalized medicine.
"The findings of this report will come as a shock to some in the arthritis community because the numbers are higher than what we've seen before," explains Dr. Claire Bombardier, Co-Scientific Director of the Canadian Arthritis Network and one of the lead authors on the report. "Unveiling the report at the 2011 Annual Scientific Conference will allow the best minds in the arthritis community to grapple with the issues and work out how the community can move forward together to help patients, support government and alleviate the burden on the healthcare system."
"Too many people dismiss arthritis as an old person's disease," says Dr. Dianne Mosher, Chair of the Arthritis Alliance of Canada and one of the lead authors on the report. "Canadians need to understand that these diseases are painful and debilitating. They can affect anyone, at any age. Arthritis is profoundly affecting individuals in our communities. Over the long-term, it will have a tremendous impact on our healthcare system, labour force and economy. This Report quantifies the very real personal and economic costs of arthritis and outlines some measurable actions we can take today to manage the impact tomorrow."
The Impact report puts forward four potential arthritis interventions to mitigate the burden of the disease and manage the impact arthritis could have, if left unchecked, over the next three decades. Implementing these interventions is expected to save the healthcare system more than $700 million over the next 30 years.
To respond to the findings in the report, the AAC is proposing a National Framework for Arthritis that will increase the efficiency of care and management of people living with the disease; implement effective measures to prevent disease onset; increase awareness of the full cost of arthritis to the individual and society; and, establish priorities for ongoing research.
About the Arthritis Alliance of Canada
The Arthritis Alliance of Canada was formed in 2002 as the Alliance for the Canadian Arthritis Program (ACAP). Its goal is to improve the lives of Canadians living with arthritis by working toward improved access to care and treatment, broadened education of the arthritis community and public and health policy makers, as well as increased arthritis research.
The Alliance includes more than 20 member organizations from across Canada, bringing together arthritis consumers and consumer organizations, arthritis health care professionals, researchers, funding agencies, governments, voluntary sector agencies and industry. While each member organization continues its own work, the Alliance provides a central focus for national arthritis-related initiatives.
About the Canadian Arthritis Network
The Canadian Arthritis Network (CAN) is a not-for-profit organization, funded by the Government of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence (www.nce.gc.ca), to support arthritis research and development and to facilitate the commercialization of its Network Investigators' discoveries. CAN is the single point of contact that links over 200 leading Canadian arthritis researchers and clinicians, 45 Canadian academic institutions, The Arthritis Society, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and government.
The Impact of Arthritis in Canada: Today and Over the Next 30 Years
Research Report Released by the Arthritis Alliance of Canada
LIVING WITH ARTHRITIS: A DAILY STRUGGLE
Arthritis is a chronic disease with devastating and debilitating effects for the more than 4.6 million Canadians who live with it. The Impact of Arthritis in Canada: Today and Over the Next 30 Years report focuses on the two main forms of arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis (OA) a progressive disease where joint tissues are unable to repair themselves resulting in significant damage to cartilage and bone; and
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) the most common form of inflammatory arthritis that affects the joints in the body.
Over the next 20 years, the number of Canadians with OA is expected to double from 4.4 million to more than 10 million or one in four Canadians. Currently, there are more than 272,000 people living with RA, comprising 0.9 per cent of the adult population. The number of Canadians diagnosed with RA is expected to increase as Canadians age and by 2040 is projected to comprise 1.3 per cent of the population.
MANAGING THE IMPACT OF ARTHRITIS
Arthritis directly affects the Canadian economy since the disease can result in disabilities that impede an individual's ability to fully participate in the workforce. Today, 1 in 8 workers (11.93 per cent of the Canadian workforce) has OA and one in 136 workers has RA. The Arthritis Alliance of Canada's report estimates that OA alone costs the Canadian economy $27.5 billion (in direct and indirect costs). That number is expected to more than double in the next 20 years. Add that to the $5.7 (in direct and indirect costs) for RA and the total current cost of arthritis to the Canadian economy is $33.2 billion. These numbers will only grow.
The report also finds that if potential interventions and strategies are implemented, it would not only result in significant direct and indirect cost savings of valuable health care dollars, but also and more importantly, reduce the burden and consequences of the disease for Canadians living with arthritis. Four potential targeted interventions are examined in the report: three for OA and one for RA.
- Total Joint Replacement (TJR) intervention
- Reduction of obesity rates in Canada
- Adequate pain management strategies
- Early diagnosis and treatment with cost-effective Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) and for those who do not respond to traditional DMARDs, access to Biologic Response Modifiers (Biologics) for RA
The four interventions identified in the report are only the beginning of what needs to be done.
BUILDING A NATIONAL FRAMEWORK
Based on the findings of the report, the ACC hopes to work with governments and the broader healthcare community to build a National Framework for Arthritis. The Framework will establish research priorities and strategies, identify principles to guide the design and delivery of care, suggest prevention strategies, and propose an ongoing mechanism for the arthritis community to dialogue with governments and the broader healthcare community. To date, the arthritis community has done a lot of work to collaboratively identify solutions. The next step is for governments and the broader healthcare community to engage in the discussion. We need the support of both these groups to ensure we are able to achieve meaningful change.
Now is the time.
For further information:
For more information about the Impact of Arthritis Report, the Arthritis Alliance of Canada, or to schedule interviews with Alliance members please contact:
To download a copy of the Report, please visit www.arthritisalliance.ca
For more information about the 2011 Annual Scientific Conference, please contact:
Director of Communications
Canadian Arthritis Network
October 26-30, please call 416-712-4448 (cell)
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