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International Journal of Rheumatology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 139608, 7 pages
Research Article

Health Care Costs Associated with Ankylosing Spondylitis in Turkey: An Analysis from Nationwide Real-World Data

1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
2STATinMED Research, Istanbul, Turkey
3Social Security Institution, Ankara, Turkey
4Central Bank of Turkey, Ankara, Turkey
5Gastroenterology Clinic, Dıskapı Yıldırım Beyazıt Education and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey

Received 9 November 2012; Revised 31 December 2012; Accepted 10 January 2013

Academic Editor: Ruben Burgos-Vargas

Copyright © 2013 Onur Baser et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To explore health care costs associated with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in Turkey. Methods. Research-identified data from a system that processes claims for all Turkish health insurance funds were analyzed. Adult prevalent and incident AS patients with two AS visits at least 60 days apart, identified between June 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010, with at least 1 year of continuous health plan enrollment for the baseline and follow-up years were included in the study. Pharmacy, outpatient, and inpatient claims were compiled over the study period for the selected patients. Generalized linear models were used to estimate the expected annual costs, controlling for baseline demographic and clinical characteristics. Results. A total of 2.986 patients were identified, of which 603 were incident cases and 2.383 prevalent cases. The mean ages were 39 and 41 years, respectively, and 44% and 38% were women for incident and prevalent cases. Prevalent patients had higher comorbidity scores (5.01 versus 2.24, ) and were more likely to be prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (77% versus 72%, ) or biologics (35% versus 8%, ) relative to incident patients. Seventy-seven percent of prevalent patients were prescribed NSAIDs, followed by biologic and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Total annual medical costs for incident AS patients were €2.253 and €4.233 for prevalent patients. Pharmacy costs accounted for a significant portion of total costs (88% for prevalent patient, 77% for incident patient), followed by physician office visit costs. Prior comorbidities and treatment type also significantly contributed to overall costs. Conclusion. Annual expenditures for AS patients in Turkey were comparable relative to European countries. Pharmaceutical expenditures cover a significant portion of the overall costs. Comparative effectiveness studies are necessary to further decrease health care costs of AS treatment.