The International Osteoporosis Foundation has released a report which predicted an increase in the number of people with osteoporosis in the European Union from 27.5 million people to 33.9 million people by 2025.
“Health care authorities must implement national prevention and treatment guidelines, establish fracture liaison services to identify high-risk patients, facilitate reimbursement of cost-effective medication and [dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry] DXA scans, and take measures to improve adherence to medications by patients,” John A. Kanis, MD, president of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), stated in a press release.
John A. Kanis
In the report, Kanis and colleagues noted the total cost of caring for new and existing fragility fractures was €37 billion, with 66% of the cost dedicated to treating new fractures, 29% for long-term fracture care and 5% for pharmacological interventions. All the costs are estimated to increase by 25%, according to the release.
Among the 3.5 million new fragility fractures, researchers estimate 620,000 new hip fractures, 520,000 new vertebral fractures, 560,000 new forearm fractures, and 1,800,000 fractures in a miscellaneous category, with the overall number of new fragility fractures expected to increase to 4.5 million in 2025.
Kanis and colleagues noted a slight decrease in the use of osteoporosis medications after an increase between 2001 and 2011. Further, reimbursement of medications to treat osteoporosis is only currently available in seven of the European Union member states even though the medications are widely available.
“By 2025, in a little more than a decade, the population aged 50 years and over will increase by 20%, with even larger increases in the number of elderly,” Kanis stated. “Health care systems, already strapped for resources, will have to cope with millions of additional patients suffering from costly and disabling age-related musculoskeletal diseases.”
Hernlund E. Arch Osteoporos. 2013;doi:10.1007/s11657-013-0136-1.
Disclosure: The authors received research funding from pharmaceutical companies involved in marketing products for treatment of osteoporosis. Competing interests have been lodged with IOF.