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Survival and Healthcare Expenditures for RA Have Increased Following Emergence of Biologics

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The researchers used NHI data to calculate total healthcare costs, including RA-related treatments, tests, and procedures; tally the monthly cost of RA cases; then divided it by the number of surviving cases per month to estimate patients’ average monthly healthcare cost. The survival of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) increased after biologic treatment agents became available in 2003, but patients with RA treated with biologics may also face higher lifetime treatment costs compared with patients from the prebiologic era, according to a study in Arthritis & Rheumatology .

In this study, a group of researchers from Taiwan analyzed claims data from the National Health Insurance (NHI) of Taiwan recorded between 1999 and 2016. These data were validated using the Catastrophic Illnesses Registry to establish a study cohort of 29,352 new patients with RA. The objective of the study was to examine the cumulative incidence rate of RA between patients aged 16 to 84, lifetime expectancy, loss of lifetime expectancy, and lifetime healthcare costs for incident RA following 2003 when doctors began prescribing biologic agents .

The investigators estimated survival function of RA and generalized to the lifetime and simulated sex-, age-, and calendar year-matched referents from vital statistics for every case […]

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