Medicines in Development for Arthritis

Read More About Arthritis

America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are currently developing 198 medicines to help the more than 50 million Americans afflicted with at least one of the 100 different musculoskeletal disorders, including arthritis. All of the medicines are either in clinical trials or awaiting review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States. Each year, it is responsible for 44 million outpatient doctor visits, nearly 1 million hospitalizations, and nearly 10,000 deaths. And it costs the American economy nearly $128 billion annually in direct medical costs and indirect costs, such as lost wages and productivity.

By 2030, it is estimated that the number of Americans with some form of diagnosed arthritis will increase to more than 67 million. “As the baby boomer generation ages, advances in research and the development of more effective and safer treatments are critical to helping improve the quality of life for millions of people with arthritis,” said John Howard Klippel, M.D., president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation.
New medicines today in the research and development pipeline offer hope of reducing the human and economic costs of the many musculoskeletal disorders affecting Americans. They include:
  • 67 for rheumatoid arthritis that affects about 1.3 million American adults.
  • 23 for osteoporosis that affects 10 million people, 80 percent of whom are women.
  • 19 for lupus which affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans.
  • 19 for osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly 27 million Americans.
  • 15 for musculoskeletal pain that affects the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones.
  • 9 for fibromyalgia which affects 3 million to 6 million Americans.
Examples of some medicines now being tested to treat musculoskeletal disorders include:
  • A new monoclonal antibody in development for lupus modulates B-cells that produce antibodies against the body’s own cells and tissue, causing the immune system to turn on itself.
  • A medicine in development for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that inhibits two types of an enzyme that are key components in signaling activation of cytokines and growth factors that are elevated in patients with RA.
  • A potential first-in-class medicine in development for pain associated with osteoarthritis that is an inhibitor of a gene-encoding protein that plays a role in inflammatory pain.
Researching and developing new medicines remains a risky investment and lengthy process—costing, on average, $1.2 billion, including the cost of failures, and taking between 10–15 years to bring a new medicine to patients. But advances in our understanding of diseases and how to treat them have allowed America’s biopharmaceutical research companies to conduct the cuttingedge research needed to reduce the destructive toll of arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders and to allow more patients to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives.
Did you know?
  • Approximately 294,000 children under the age of 18 are affected by pediatric arthritis and rheumatologic conditions.*
  • State prevalence numbers for pediatric arthritis and rheumatologic conditions are available in the “Prevalence of and Annual Ambulatory Health
  • Care Visits for Pediatric Arthritis and Other Rheumatologic Conditions in the US in 2001-2004”.*
  • Ambulatory care visits for pediatric arthritis and rheumatologic conditions averaged 827,000 annually.*
  • Juvenile arthritis is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States.*
  • Arthritis and related conditions, such as juvenile arthritis, cost the U.S. economy nearly $128 billion per year in medical care and indirect expenses, including lost wages and productivity.*



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