Kyriakos Souliotis, Christina Golna, Chara Kani, Sofia Nikolaidi, Dimitrios Boumpas

Introduction: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a highly prevalent autoimmune disease associated with joint inflammation and destruction. Treatment for RA, especially with biologic agents (biologics), improves patient functionality and quality of life and averts costly complications or disease progression. Cost of RA pharmaceutical treatment has rarely been reported on the basis of real-world, big data. This study reports on the real-world, big data RA pharmaceutical treatment cost in Greece.

Methods: The Business Intelligence database of the National Organization for Healthcare Services Provision (EOPYY) was used to identify and provide analytics on patients on treatment for RA. EOPYY is responsible for funding healthcare and pharmaceutical care services for approximately 95% of the population in the country. ICD-10 codes were applied to identify patients with RA and at least one reimbursed prescription between 1 June 2014 and 31 May 2015.

Results: 35,873 unique patients were recorded as undergoing treatment for RA. Total reimbursed treatment cost for the study period was €81,206,363.70, of which €52,732,142.18 (64.94%) was for treatment with biologics. Of that cost, €39,724,489.71 (48.32%) accounted for treatment with anti-TNFs and/or methotrexate/corticosteroids.

Conclusions: Real world, big data analysis confirms that the major driver of RA pharmaceutical cost is, as expected, the cost of treatment with biologics. It is critical to be able to match this cost to the treatment outcome it produces to ensure an optimal, no-waste, evidence-based allocation of healthcare resources to need.

PLoS One, 14(12), e0226287, 2019