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Clinicoecon Outcomes Res. 2013 Apr 23;5:171-80. doi: 10.2147/CEOR.S41111. Print 2013.

Health-resource use and costs associated with fibromyalgia in France, Germany, and the United States.

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Health Economics and Outcomes Research, Covance Market Access Services, Gaithersburg, MD, USA.



Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread, persistent pain. Prospective and retrospective studies have demonstrated substantial health-care costs associated with FM in a number of countries. This study evaluated and compared health-resource use (HRU) and associated costs related to FM in routine clinical practice across the US, France, and Germany.


Two separate, cross-sectional, observational studies of subjects with FM were conducted: one in the US and one in France and Germany. HRU related to prescription medication, physician office visits, diagnostic tests, and hospitalizations was abstracted from chart review; patient out-of-pocket costs and lost productivity were collected via subject self-report. Costs were assigned to HRU based on standard algorithms. Direct and indirect costs were evaluated and compared by simple linear regression.


A total of 442 subjects (203 US, 70 France, 169 Germany) with FM were analyzed. The mean (standard deviation) age in the US, France, and Germany was 47.9 (10.9), 51.2 (9.5), and 49.2 (9.8), respectively (P = 0.085). Most subjects were female (95% US, 83% France, 80% Germany) (P < 0.001). Adjusted annual direct costs per subject for FM were significantly higher in the US ($7087) than in France ($481, P < 0.001) or Germany ($2417, P < 0.001). Adjusted mean annual indirect costs per subject for FM were lower in the US ($6431) than in France ($8718) or Germany ($10,001), but represented a significant proportion of total costs in all countries.


The significant HRU and costs associated with FM in the US, France, and Germany documented in this study highlight the substantial global economic burden of FM. Indirect costs represented a significant proportion of the total costs, particularly in Europe. Comparisons between the three countries show differences in HRU, with significantly higher direct costs in the US compared with France and Germany.


France; Germany; United States; burden of illness; cost; fibromyalgia

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