This is a category taken from the full feed of Musculoskeletal and Arthritis news provided by ARMA's members.


In Portugal, the authorities are planning what to do regarding the introduction of biosimilars. Biologic medicines are fully reimbursed by the NHS (either patients do the treatment in a hospital setting, or they can have the prescription to collect the product in hospital pharmacies, according to which biologic treatment they are prescribed).

Patients and patients organisations are concerned with the possibility of interchangeability if the authorities decide to make biosimilars available by purchase only.

  • Could you let us know how is this being dealt with in your countries?
  • Are you aware of any evidence regarding interchangeability?

If you would like to share your experiences please contact Elsa Mateus of Liga Portuguesa Contra as Doenças Reumáticas (the Portuguese League Against Rheumatic Diseases).


BMUS-ExecSum-cover-200x259Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS): The Executive Summary has been published and distributed to Congressional legislators in DC and their health affairs staff, editorials based on BMUS are slated to appear in a number of publications, and work on the next round of updates has begun.

The Executive Summary of the current edition of The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States: Prevalence, Societal and Economic Cost (BMUS) was released by the USBJI earlier this year. Titled The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans — Opportunities for Action, this colorful booklet with clear and colorful graphs highlighting key statistics has now been distributed to legislators on Capitol Hill and their Health Affairs staff. It is a booklet any member of the public can read to better understand the impact of musculoskeletal health, and it proposes alternative strategies to lower that impact.

BMUS has changed from a static document to become a dynamic publication. The goal of BMUS is to draw attention to the burden on society of musculoskeletal disorders, and to serve those who need this data. Editorials based on BMUS are slated to appear in a number of publications, and others are being prepared for submission. 25,000 unique visitors were registered visiting the BMUS website during 2015, and this level of traffic has continued into 2016.

To obtain copies of the Executive Summary booklet in print, email Or it can be downloaded directly from the BMUS website, at

fit-to-a-t-video-thumbnailThe United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI) has released a video to demonstrate the connection between weak bones, the risk of breaks and osteoporosis in an enlightened and attractive format, a new 6-minute animated video has been released focusing on the core messages of Fit to a T, a public education program on bone health and osteoporosis offered by the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative.

The USBJI invites you to watch the video ( and share it with your patients, colleagues, family and friends.

This is a succinct and easy-to-understand story that covers the basics of bone health, risk factors, myths, and how to strengthen bones and avoid fractures.

federico3cIt’s hard to describe a month like the one we’ve just had, which has been characterised by many positive things for our community, but overshadowed by external events. Like me, many of you will feel worried and dismayed at the result of the EU referendum. There is no denying that whatever the practical implications of it – politically, for the NHS, for our respective areas of work – and whatever actually ends up happening at the end of what could well turn out to be a long and winding road, this result casts tremendous uncertainty over the UK, and Europe, in many different ways and for some time to come.

I’ve talked a lot about the value of networks over the years. In 2014 I wrote this blog for National Voices, reflecting on the meaning of a “network society.” ARMA is a network: we work together, collaboratively, to tackle the shared challenges we all face, and achieve our shared objectives. EULAR is a network. The Global Alliance for MSK Health is a network. Our members have their own networks. Networks know no boundaries. And the really key thing about networks is that they are more than the sum of their parts: they create their own value, their own wealth, their own social capital, by virtue of transcending boundaries, and generating the “transformational change” we’ve all often heard about. By breaking down barriers, they enable the kind of multiculturalism that makes a city like London, where many of us are based, and a country like the UK genuinely special. The same goes for the NHS, where multidisciplinary working is clearly the way forward. Which is why when walls go back up, it’s both damaging and disheartening.

It’s very difficult to say what will happen now; with our two main parties locked in internal power struggles; the Lib Dems already promising to keep the UK in the EU; Scotland putting a fresh stake in the ground over independence; our government’s lines of negotiation with the EU far from clear; mixed messages from lots of people about access to the single market; a petition for a second referendum, which has attracted over 4m signatures; and growing voices of dissent and calls for an early General Election. The events of the last five days alone in both the Tory and Labour parties are enough to make the Borgias look like one happy family. Just like a real-life box set, it feels like there may well be many more twists in the tale before we know for sure where we stand, in almost any respect.

The start of June saw the annual EULAR conference in London, where ARMA and several of our patient-led member organisations had a stand, and which by all accounts was very positive and productive. The next Edgar Stene prize competition is now open: see below.

Positive and productive also describes ARMA’s growing collaboration with NHS Right Care, which is going from strength to strength. In addition to providing input to their programme of Optimal Value Pathways, one of which will focus on fragility fractures, and in addition to the new Commissioning for Value packs, which have used some of the MSK indicators identified by our community, I was also invited to speak at NHS Right Care sessions at two conferences this past month. The first was an HFMA conference on “spending wisely”, where I highlighted the value of programmes like ESCAPE Pain and some of the resources produced by ARMA members, including the FLS benefits calculator and the physiotherapy cost calculator. Good care is everybody’s business, not least the finance managers’, among other things because bad care costs more, and is unsustainable. The latter event was the Right Care stream at the Health + Care conference, where again I talked about the MSK clinical networks project and encouraged everyone to sign up to our Knowledge Network.

This last week we held our second meeting with Prof Kevin Fenton and his team at Public Health England, where we discussed, among other things, developing an MSK narrative following the “mapping” documents which we’ve produced on MSK and work and MSK and physical activity, based on our members’ input. Please also continue to help promote the One You campaign through your websites, member communications and social media. At the end of August (around the same time as the publication of a Green Paper on health and work), this campaign will have a special focus on physical activity. We also discussed the merit of developing an MSK equivalent of the mental health toolkit for employers recently produced by Business in the Community.

Finally, I’m very excited about Arthritis Research UK’s newly-launched MSK Health Questionnaire, which is the result of a long and collaborative effort involving the entire MSK community and healthcare experts, and which will no doubt be an extremely useful tool in helping to not only capture the “right” MSK data and evidence much more consistently and systematically, but ultimately make services more outcomes-focused and patient-centred.

This month’s guest blog is by Dr. Peter Lanyon, President of the BSR. In addition, Henry Mace, Professional Development Lead at the National Osteoporosis Society, has also written a blog for NHS England on reducing fragility fractures, ahead of their upcoming webinar on 21 July (see link for details).

All the best,

Federico Moscogiuri

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Oscar Wilde

bjd document cover

The first internationally-informed Framework for Developing and Evaluating Musculoskeletal Models of Care has been developed by a team of Australian researchers in partnership with The Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health.

What are Models of Care?

Models of Care are guides or policies that outline the principles of care for particular conditions and how to implement that care in a local setting.

Who is the Framework for?

The Framework is intended to help those tasked with planning, implementing or evaluating health services to achieve an optimal Model of Care and its sustainable implementation. While the World Health Organisation has developed a guide to assist nations in assessing capacity for responding to the burden of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and lung diseases, this Framework assists nations specifically address musculoskeletal health challenges through Models of Care.

How was the framework developed? BJD-2015-square

Led by Associate Professor Andrew Briggs (Curtin University, Australia), the Framework was informed by experts from 30 nations, representing high, middle and low-income economies, using a phased research approach.

Why is it important?

As Governments and other agencies worldwide recognise the immense burden of disease associated with musculoskeletal conditions, Models of Care will become increasingly important as a system-wide response. The Framework will help to support development efforts in Models of Care and offer an approach to standardising evaluation.

eular_congress-posterThe next Annual European Congress of Rheumatology – EULAR 2016 – is at the Excel Centre, London 8th-11th June 2016.

Since its introduction in 2000, the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology has become the primary platform for exchange of scientific and clinical information in Europe.

The conference’s scientific programme has now been published and the itinerary planner is now available on the website.

See for full details.

e-breakthrough magazine

The April 2016 edition of EULAR PARE’s e-breakthrough is out; click here to download it in PDF.

This issue features articles on the meeting of CEOs of PARE organisations; Finland’s engagement programme; a knowledge transfer programme between Poland, Romania and The Netherlands; and Introduction to the Standing Committee on Clinical Affairs.


Edgar Stene Prize 2016 Winner

You can now read Simon Stone’s wining UK entry for the Edgar Stene Prize 2016 at the Young PARE website The 2017 competition will be open in the summer – watch this space for details!


‘It’s in your hands, take action’

The theme of World Arthritis Day (WAD) in 2016 is ‘It’s in your hands, take action’ (continuing from 2015). EULAR is encouraging people to take action and make a difference to the quality of life for people with MSK conditions; you can share your #WADStory. 

See WAD on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. See the website for full details on how to get involved in the lead up to the 12th October 2016.


NICE LTCs Consultation

Consultation on the draft Quality Standard for “Older people with social care needs and multiple long-term conditions” is now open on the NICE website.

The consultation is open until 5pm on Tuesday 24 May 2016. Find full details of how to submit your comments here.


National-voices-logo-NEW-STRAPLINEOn June 23 2016 each of us will have to make a potentially momentous decision. It will be a choice for us as individuals, and here at National Voices we won’t be advising our members to vote one way or the other in the EU referendum.

The EU has somehow become a subject of impassioned debate, dividing families and colleagues as much as parties. As far as health is concerned, whether Britain would be better served by remaining or leaving can only be a matter of speculation. But it can at least be informed speculation, and that means understanding what relevance our current EU membership has to health.

To help, we’ve compiled a briefing to explain some ways in which the EU currently impacts on health and wellbeing in the UK. No speculation, no assumptions, no guessing what might happen: just a snapshot of how things stand today. Be warned, it’s not our shortest briefing, but we hope it will be useful to you and your members as you consider how to vote on 23 June.

Click here to read the member briefing from National Voices.

WLD posterWorld Lupus Day will take place on 10th May 2016. This is the first year that the event has been organised by the World Lupus Federation, a coalition of lupus patient organisations from around the world, united to improve the quality of life for people affected by lupus. LUPUS UK is proud to be a member of this new coalition.

The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Lupus Knows No Boundaries’.  This is to highlight lupus as a global health problem that affects people of all nationalities, races, ethnicities, genders and ages. Lupus can affect any part of the body in any way at any time, often with unpredictable and life-changing results.

Click here to see the full-size  ‘Lupus Knows No Boundaries’ poster for WLD 2016.

One of the main aims of the campaign is to encourage people to sign a petition to help make lupus a priority for the World Health Organisation. You can sign the petition at

For more information about how to get involved with the World Lupus Day campaign in the UK, please go to the World Lupus Day page on the Lupus UK site.