CDC: Price tag for treating arthritis jumps

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Arthritis and related conditions cost the United States $128 billion in 2003, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That figure represents a 48% increase from the $86 billion spent in 1997 to treat arthritis and other rheumatic conditions, primarily because the survey identified 9 million more cases of arthritis-related conditions. As many as 46 million Americans received treatment for arthritis and related conditions in 2003, researchers noted. The number is expected to increase by eight million by 2015, CDC officials estimate.

The 2003 arthritis costs amounted to$81 billion in direct cost, including medical care expenditures, and $47 billion for indirect cost, such as lost wages, the CDC stated in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The figures were generated from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a nationally representative survey conducted annually.