Arthritis is a major cause of chronic pain and disability which affects the quality of life of millions of people worldwide. In fact, it is estimated that 3.1 million Australian's (as of June 2000) suffer from this debilitating disease. This figure correlates to approximately 16.5% of the population.
There is a myth that arthritis is a disease that only affects the elderly. This is far from the truth since data has shown that almost 60% of people with arthritis are between the working ages of 15-64 years. It has been estimated that approximately 11% of the Australia workforce has arthritis. This represents a significant cost to the Australian economy in terms of direct (medical expenses) and indirect costs (loss of income, early retirement). The overall economic impact of arthritis costs the Australian economy approximately 9 billion dollars per year (as of 2000) and is expected to rise. The medical cost for arthritis treatment is similar to that of cancer and is much greater than other diseases such as diabetes or asthma.
However, only 3.1% of Australia's research is devoted to the study of muscular, bone and joint diseases such as arthritis. Therefore, we rely on public donations to cover the shortfall in arthritis research funding.