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Osteoarthritis affects 17% of the Spanish population and costs more than 4,700 million every year

11 Oct 2011

Bioibérica Farma, the only Spanish company specializing in the treatment of osteoarthritis, launches an osteoarthritis awareness campaign. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoarthritis is the fourth most common cause of loss of Quality Adjusted Life Years.

Symptomatic osteoarthritis (OA) affects more than seven million Spaniards1 and costs more than 4,700 million Euros every year2. It is currently the most common joint disease and it is expected that, within the next few years, the number of patients suffering from OA will double because of population ageing. Moreover, OA causes more than 30% of working disabilities in Spain, both temporary as well as permanent. It is also the cause of 35% of consultations at primary health care centers3.

Despite of all these facts, OA is not publicly perceived a major disease from the social, medical or economical points of view. For many years, OA has been considered a disease inevitably associated to ageing and to physical wear and tear. This is far from the truth, however: this pathology affects also young sportspersons, workers, menopausal women, overweight and retired persons, among many other groups, thus severely hampering their quality of life. For this reason, and because of the world osteoarthritis day which will be celebrated tomorrow, October 12th, Bioibérica Farma will launch a campaign to raise awareness among the population about the social and economical costs of this disease.

The most common rheumatic disease

Pain and functional disability: these are the main symptoms of osteoarthritis. OA is a degenerative, inflammatory, chronic disease of the locomotor system caused by the wear and tear of joints (in concrete that of joint cartilage). Normally, OA affects hands, knee, hip or the spinal column. It causes pain, inflammation and prevents patients from doing common actions such as closing the hand or to walk. This disease affects specially those parts of the body which endure weight such as for instance the knees.Most osteoarthritis patients are 40 years old or more. However, we can find also young persons with osteoarthritis symptoms, especially sportspersons or people who have to do repetitive movements overusing a particular joint, as could be the case of building workers or seamstresses. There are certain activities associated to OA development:

1. Repetitive weight lifting
2. Excessive, repetitive joint stretching.
3. Poor working postures.
4. Vibration (jackhammers, sewing machines, drilling machines).
5. Repetitive movement of hand joints (while performing activities such as sewing) or sports which overuses a specific part of the body (as could be the case of football players’ knees)

1. According to the Spanish Society of Rheumatology.
2. According to the 2009 ArtRoCad study of the SER and the SEMERGEN.
3. Según la Guía de Buena Práctica Clínica en Artrosis, Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo, Dr. Francisco J.Pulido, 2004. According to the Guide of Good Clinical Practice in osteoarthritis, Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs, Dr. Francisco J. Pulido, 2004.According to the Spanish Society of Rheumatology.

A significant Economic Cost
According to the ArtRoCad study, carried out by the Spanish Society of Rheumatology (SER) and the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN) on the use of Health care resources and the socio-economical consequences of knee and hip OA in Spain, OA costs 4,738 million € every year. This figure equals to 0.5% of national income. Average yearly cost of knee and hip OA amounts to €1,502 per patient for the Spanish administration. 

Most of this amount (47%) is allocated to medical costs:
- 22% to medical specialist consultation.
- 13% to hospital admissions.
- 5% to medicines.

The 32nd Congress of the Spanish Society of Rheumatology (2006) remarked that rheumatic diseases are the first most common cause of permanent disability and the third most common cause of temporary working disability. Moreover, 50% of permanent disabilities caused by rheumatic disease correspond to OA cases, with all the social and economical consequences implied by this fact.

Chondroprotectors, the only specific treatment for OA

The Pharmacological treatment recommended for the chronic phase of the disease are the SYSADOA (SYmptomatic Slow Acting Drugs for OsteoArthritis) also known as chondroprotectors (joint protector drugs). They are the only drugs specifically designed for the long term treatment of OA because they intervene directly in the damaged joint. Condroprotectors not only alleviate pain and improve mobility-they also have the ability to attack the disease at its root, preventing the deterioration of the joint. The SYSADOA or chondroprotectors include drugs such as chondroitin sulphate, glyccosamine sulphate or hyaluronic acid.

Bioiberica Farma
Bioiberica Farma is the only Spanish laboratory specializing in the research and development of effective drugs to treat osteoarthritis. It specializes particularly in chondroprotection, that is, in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cartilage, synovial membrane and subchondral bone injuries.Its expertise in the treatment of osteoarthritis has brought Bioiberica Farma to a leading position in the field of chondroprotection. This leading position is confirmed by a number of published or in-progress research papers; by the recognition of several scientific and medical societies; by the strict chemical and biological quality controls of its manufacturing process; by the quality of their products, and by the publication by BIOIBERICA of several journals specializing in chondroprotection issues. 

For further information, please contact:
Alba Soler
Directora de Comunicación de BioibericaFarma
682 040 776 o 93 490 49 08

93 217 22 17