Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapeutics in Taiwan
Frost & Sullivan, Research Analyst
“About three times as many women are afflicted with RA than men. RA cases are higher in urban areas and the number of new cases diagnosed is seen to be increasing because of rising awareness of RA and earlier detection that allows patients to receive treatment in the early stages,” she further explains.
RA is classified as a chronic disease under the Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI),
The diagnosis of RA is based on clinical examination of symptoms, patient history, as well as some blood tests. RA cannot be confirmed or excluded by any one test. The most common test is rheumatoid factor (RF). The other supporting tests are: anticyclic citrullinated peptide (Anti-CCP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and Xray.
“Recent work productivity studies have confirmed that better disease awareness and availability of treatment options have resulted in fewer patients ceasing to work and more patients reporting lower impact of their disease on work as well as family and social activities,” she further elaborates.
Methotrexate (MTX), a DMARD (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) has been traditionally used to treat RA. It is also the most used form of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis, especially with generic forms available. Currently, combination therapies between DMARDs and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are commonly practiced.
DMARDs capture the majority of the RA therapeutics market owing to the availability of reimbursement for treatment with these drugs and their easy availability over the counter. DMARDs are expected to retain majority share in the forecast period as well.
According to Rajan, “Biologics are used in combination with DMARDs for moderate to severe RA patients. Some biologic drugs are currently reimbursed, if treated in government hospitals. Physicians opine that with more drugs brought into the hospital formularies, the usage of biologics would increase for treatment earlier in the disease.”
Though there are new drugs available for treating RA, specialists in
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