MAJOR long-term economic benefits, as well as improvements to health, are delivered by investment in research on musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis, according to a team led by researchers from King’s College London and Brunel University London, UK. The study, supported by Arthritis Research UK and other organisations, calculated a yearly return of 25p for every £1 invested by charitable and public bodies in this area of research.
Returns on Investment
To come to this figure, the researchers analysed research-based interventions that have reduced morbidity and mortality in musculoskeletal disease over a 20-year period, such as advice for patients with back pain and novel drug therapies for inflammatory arthritis. They estimated the value of the benefits in health from these interventions and set this against the levels of public and charity investment in this area of medicine. To measure the overall return figure on the investment, the wider economic benefits of the investment were then accounted for. From this, the team concluded that there were direct health benefits of 7p and a further 15–18p of benefits to the wider economy each year per £1 invested.
Improving Lives of Patients
Dr Liam O’Toole, Chief Executive Officer, Arthritis Research UK, commented: “This report shows that the returns on investing in musculoskeletal research are long lasting not only to the individual, but also to the wider economy. Arthritis causes pain, stiffness, and fatigue for millions of people in the UK every single day and can impact their ability to do things many of us take for granted, like driving to work or climbing the stairs. Thanks to funding for musculoskeletal research, treatments such as the breakthrough anti-TNF therapy and exercise interventions to prevent and manage pain are now readily available. These are just some example of advances that are a result of investments in medical research that are helping to make everyday life better for people with arthritis.”
Public Spending on Research
The researchers believe that these findings display the importance of maintaining public spending in biomedicine and that such investment should form part of a modern industrial strategy.
James Coker, Reporter
For the source, and further information on the study, click here.