§ Lord McNair
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the average age of onset for rheumatoid arthritis, angina pectoris and multiple sclerosis has changed over the past 30 years; and, if so, by how much for each condition; and
How many people in the United Kingdom suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, what is the average age of 39WA onset, what are the medications of choice, what is the annual cost to the National Health Service (NHS) of such medications and of hospitalisation for such patients per patient and how many days' work as an annual total are lost to this condition.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege)
Information about the number of people with a medical condition, the age of onset of the conditions, the annual cost to the National Health Service of the hospitalisation of people with rheumatoid arthritis, angina pectoris and multiple sclerosis and the number of work days lost to these conditions is not collected by the Department of Health. There are no medications of choice for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis but a range of drugs is available. The medication prescribed in individual cases is a matter for the clinical judgment of the doctor concerned informed by the patient's medical history. It is not possible to isolate the cost of all drugs used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis since some of the relevant drugs are also used for the treatment of other conditions, for example, they include analgesics for the relief of pain. That said, information on prescribing of drugs which may be used in rheumatic diseases and gout is as in the table.
England British National Formulary section Number prescription items (millions) Net ingredient cost(£ millions) 10.1 Drugs used in rheumatic diseases and gout 20.3 169.6
The data cover all prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England.