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Embargo: 11 June 2004, CET

New survey shows action needed to improve arthritis / rheumatism care

Berlin, Germany, 11 June 2004 - Serious deficiencies in the healthcare provision for people with arthritis / rheumatism were exposed today in the results of a new European survey.

More than 100 million people in Europe are affected by arthritis / rheumatism, making it Europe’s most widespread chronic disease. The condition can have serious consequences, ranging from severe pain to loss of mobility, and delays in diagnosis and treatment have been shown to increase the risk of further joint damage.
However, the survey showed that a third of people with arthritis / rheumatism had to wait over a year before receiving the correct diagnosis, while 15 per cent had to wait up to three years.1

In addition, although over half of the respondents in the survey said their condition had a major impact on their ability to work,1 only 34 per cent said they had convenient access to occupational therapy and 44 per cent to rehabilitation.1

Undertaken by the People with Arthritis / Rheumatism in Europe (PARE) Manifesto Steering Group, a body representing the EULAR Social Leagues (patient groups), the survey also showed a significant impact on quality of life, with more than 50 per cent of people stating it had a moderate or major impact on relationships with family and friends.1

In addition, although arthritis / rheumatism is a long-term condition, less than two out of ten people with arthritis / rheumatism questioned in the survey thought that they were very well-informed about it, while four out of ten people felt fairly well-informed.1

Speaking at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) medical congress, Dr Neil Betteridge, Chair of the PARE Manifesto Steering Group, said that the results of the survey revealed a need to improve access to information and healthcare provision.

“The pain and disability of arthritis / rheumatism affects every aspect of life and it has serious consequences for society, but despite this, many people do not have access to appropriate treatment and support,” he said.

Dissatisfaction with treatment was also a problem – a quarter of those surveyed were dissatisfied with the treatment their doctor prescribed and only a quarter were very or extremely satisfied. Poor pain relief (59 per cent) and unpleasant side-effects (43 per cent) were the major reasons for lack of contentment.1 Gastrointestinal (GI) side-effects were cited as by far the most common side-effect (32 per cent).1 GI side-effects are commonly associated with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a common treatment for arthritis / rheumatism.

The survey involved 617 people with arthritis / rheumatism from seven European countries, (France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden and the UK).

- ends -

Notes for Editors
PARE Manifesto Survey
The survey was carried out by the PARE Manifesto Steering Group, a body representing the EULAR Social Leagues (patient groups) with the support of Double Helix Development, an independent market research company. The PARE Manifesto Steering Group partnered with AstraZeneca to investigate the impact on quality of life of arthritis / rheumatism. The international survey was carried out in seven European countries, (France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden and the UK) between Friday, 26th March and Friday 6th May, 2004. 617 patients contributed to the results.

The study was initially conducted as an online survey via the PARE Manifesto web site,, and with the support of PARE Manifesto’s national patient groups. Respondents were screened to make sure that they could only complete the survey once.

A telephone line was also set up in each country for people with arthritis / rheumatism who did not have access to the internet or who could not type for long periods of time. This meant that they could be interviewed by telephone and their views included in the results.

The telephone number was advertised through media releases and patient flyers distributed by general practitioners, rheumatologists, pharmacists and in outpatient clinics in hospitals.

250 of the 617 people who completed the survey, were interviewed by telephone.

PARE Manifesto Steering Group
The PARE Manifesto Steering Group is a body representing the EULAR Social Leagues (patient groups). It addresses the most important key objectives in the “European Manifesto”. The European Manifesto is a document focusing on ten calls to action in order to ensure a better quality of life for people living with arthritis / rheumatism in Europe. For more information please go to

For further enquiries please contact:

Carrie Monaghan Birte Glüsing
Hill & Knowlton (UK) Ltd PARE Manifesto Secretariat
+44 20 7413 3788 (direct) + 44 207 380 6567 (direct)
+44 7764 487 460 (mobile) + 44 7778 554 367 (mobile)


. People with Arthritis and Rheumatism in Europe (PARE) Manifesto Steering Group. European patient survey 2004. Data on file, PARE.
. PARE Manifesto Steering Group; The PARE Manifesto: A call to action; Last accessed 16.04.04.
. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Questions and answers about arthritis and rheumatic diseases. Last accessed 16.04.04.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Hill & Knowlton (UK) in the following categories: Health, Medical & Pharmaceutical, for more information visit