Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease and the patients often suffer from comorbidities such as pain and stiffness of the back, even develop to a serious deformity or disability, which substantially influence the daily work and quality of life. This study was to explore the disease burden of AS in China.


      Treatment pattern, quality of life, epidemiological and cost data were extracted from a systematic review of literature and public databases, real world data from Hospital Pharmacy Committee of Chinese Pharmaceutical Association were also included in analyses. Data synthesized were examined and the data-gaps were filled by in-depth interviews with clinical and health economic experts, and by advisory board meetings (Delphi Panel). The disease burden model was built in Microsoft Excel 2016 and one-way sensitivity analyses of key parameters were performed.


      In China, the prevalence of AS is about 0.3%, about 35% of patients seek consultations with clinicians, the diagnosis rate is about 68%, and the treatment rate after diagnosis is around 75%. According to the calculation, the annual total cost of AS in China in 2018 is about ¥9,050,915,606 RMB, among which direct medical cost accounts for 39.8%, direct non-medical cost accounts for 23.1%, and indirect cost accounts for 37.2%.


      Currently the effective treatment and management of AS is insufficient in China, leads to a heavy societal burden due to productivity loss caused by consequential deformity and disability. In order to improve the outcomes and quality of life of AS patients, it is needed to improve the awareness of the disease in patients and physicians, to facilitate the coverage of biological agents by reimbursement list, and to follow the standardized clinical treatment pathways for management of AS.