Press Release

Nearly 200 Medicines for Arthritis, Related Disorders

PhRMA July 14, 2011

Washington, D.C. (July 13, 2011) — America’s biopharmaceutical research companies currently are developing 198 medicines to help the more than 50 million Americans that suffer from at least one of the many different musculoskeletal disorders, including arthritis. 

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability, impacting nearly 21 million Americans.  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.  The cost will only increase by the year 2030, when an estimated 67 million or 25% of the projected total adult population will have arthritis.


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, which affects an estimated 1.3 million American adults


• 23 for osteoporosis, which affects 10 million people - 80 percent of whom are women


• 19 for osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly 27 million Americans


• 19 for lupus, which affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans


• 9 for fibromyalgia, which affects up to 6 million Americans


Arthritis is a painful and physically debilitating chronic disease.  For many people with arthritis, it can affect the whole body. According to the Arthritis Foundation, a landmark government study released in 2008 suggests that nearly one in two Americans (45%) will develop painful knee osteoarthritis over their lifetime. Arthritis is the leading diagnosis for joint replacement, and one of the fastest growing expenditures in the Medicare program.  


“Globally, millions of patients and healthcare professionals hope for better treatments to help ease the pain and suffering caused by arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders,” said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. Innovative medicines developed by America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are helping to provide needed solutions. The progress we’re making today is encouraging, but we all also know that there is still more work to be done to help patients beat these disorders once and for all.  

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