Arthritis a painful burden according to new report

February 4, 2014, Monash University

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions cost Australia $55.1 billion but only $4 million is spent on clinical trials, a new report shows.

A new into the scope of musculoskeletal (MSK) in Australia has revealed that, relative to the burden of arthritis and other MSK conditions on the Australian community, national funding for research is disproportionately low.

The report, led by Professor Rachelle Buchbinder, from Monash University's Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and the Cabrini Institute shows that despite and MSK conditions affecting 6.1 million people (26.9 per cent of the Australian population), research is severely underfunded.

Funded by Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria (A&OV), The scope, funding and publication of musculoskeletal clinical trials performed in Australia (2009 - 2013) report published in the Medical Journal of Australia, found that despite the rising cost of MSK conditions in Australia - $55.1 billion in 2012 – only $4 million was spent on clinical trials in the same year.

The findings suggest an urgent need for greater investment to provide relief to the 6.1 million Australians who live in pain from MSK conditions.

Professor Buchbinder noted that the $55.1 billion cost to the Australian community is only projected to rise as the population ages.

"Timely research that addresses important questions relevant to consumers, clinicians and policymakers and reduces the sizeable delays in translating evidence into practice is critical for reducing the burden associated with these conditions," Professor Buchbinder said.

In the last five years, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has awarded 29 project grants (and over $17.6 million) in support of Australian MSK trials. While this may seem like a lot, it actually works out to be .8 per cent of the total NHMRC grants (29 out of 3,631 or $17.6 million out of $354 million).

A&OV CEO, Linda Martin said the findings of this report were a cause for great concern for the millions of Australians living with MSK conditions.

"Not only is this a massive health problem, this is an ever-increasing medical bill that Australia's economy can no longer afford to pay. We need to work harder and work together to find solutions," Ms Martin said.

A recent report by Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria found that 58 per cent of Australians currently living with MSK are between 25 and 64 years – the prime working age.

Explore further: MSK ultrasound volume increase higher among non-radiologists, study suggests

More information: "The scope, funding and publication of musculoskeletal clinical trials performed in Australia." Allison M Bourne, Samuel L Whittle, Bethan L Richards, Chris G Maher and Rachelle Buchbinder. Med J Aust 2014; 200 (2): 88-91. DOI: 10.5694/mja13.10907

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chiefsfan37
not rated yet Feb 04, 2014
This is an interesting article, but I'm curious; has anyone here looked into topical pain relief to fight arthritis pain? It provides prescription strength pain relief without any pills or side effects. A family member of mine gets topical pain gels through a pharmacy in the midwest, A&R Pharmacy in Liberty, MO, and all he does is apply the gel whenever he's in pain. He has had significant results since going this route and I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with pain and/or pills. I hope this helps!

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