Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 698709, 6 pages
Review Article

The Global Economic Cost of Osteoarthritis: How the UK Compares

MSK Lab, Imperial College, London W6 8RF, UK

Received 30 May 2012; Accepted 30 August 2012

Academic Editor: Charles J. Malemud

Copyright © 2012 A. Chen 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.


Aims. To examine all relevant literature on the economic costs of osteoarthritis in the UK, and to compare such costs globally. Methods. A search of MEDLINE was performed. The search was expanded beyond peer-reviewed journals into publications by the department of health, national orthopaedic associations, national authorities and registries, and arthritis charities. Results. No UK studies were identified in the literature search. 3 European, 6 North American, and 2 Asian studies were reviewed. Significant variation in direct and indirect costs were seen in these studies. Costs for topical and oral NSAIDs were estimated to be £19.2 million and £25.65 million, respectively. Cost of hip and knee replacements was estimated to exceed £850 million, arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis was estimated to be £1.34 million. Indirect costs from OA caused a loss of economic production over £3.2 billion, £43 million was spent on community services and £215 million on social services for osteoarthritis. Conclusions. While estimates of economic costs can be made using information from non-published data, there remains a lack of original research looking at the direct or indirect costs of osteoarthritis in the UK. Differing methodology in calculating costs from overseas studies makes direct comparison with the UK difficult.