Economy May Affect Arthritis Treatment

JYVASKYLA, Finland, June 24 (UPI) — Researchers from Finland and other countries say a country’s economy may predict the arthritis therapy patients receive.

Study leader Dr. Tuulikki Sokka of Jyvaskyla Central Hospital in Jyvaskyla, Finland, report rheumatoid arthritis patients in rich countries were three times more likely to receive a newer type of drug known as biologics as those in poor countries. The study included 11 developed countries and seven undeveloped countries, the reseachers say.

In another study, the same researchers finds macroeconomic status did not impact how patients perceived the severity of their disease. Patients seem to report disease severity in a consistent way.

“Our study group, QUEST-RA, was put together as a collaborative international study of rheumatoid arthritis and consequently, it sheds light on the true international variations and related economic factors that affect the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis across the world,” Sokka said in a statement.

QUEST-RA involved researchers and patients from 32 countries worldwide and more than 3,394 rheumatoid arthritis patients from 18 countries — 80 percent of whom were female, with a mean age of 57.

The findings were presented at the annual congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome.

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