Media releases

May 30, 2017


Targeting osteoarthritis research funding to ensure consumers get a better health outlook is the priority at today’s Osteoarthritis Summit, supported by the Medibank Better Health Foundation.

Today’s Summit gives researchers, health practitioners and consumers the opportunity to identify what the research priorities should be for the often debilitating condition that affects 2.2 million Australians.

Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of chronic pain, disability and lost productivity in Australia, costing the health system $3.75 billion and the economy around $22 billion annually[1].

Medibank’s Chief Medical Officer and Better Health Foundation Chair Dr Linda Swan said research evidence is key to driving change in how disease is treated and prevented, which is especially important given 40 per cent of Australians aged 45 and over have a chronic disease.

“We know there is substantial scope to improve the management of osteoarthritis in Australia so together we can alleviate the personal, social and economic burden of the condition,” Dr Swan said.

“The Medibank Better Health Foundation funds research that can improve the lives of the 2.2 million Australians living with osteoarthritis[2].

“Medibank funds more than 35,000 surgical procedures related to musculoskeletal conditions on behalf of our customers each year. 

“We know approximately two thirds of people with osteoarthritis say they are faring badly with their condition[3], so we must ensure that consumers are included in the decision-making process around what and how research is conducted,” Dr Swan said.

The 2017 Osteoarthritis Summit, hosted by Royal North Shore Hospital, provides an opportunity for the scientific and medical communities to identify what the research priorities are for the next five years.

The Medibank Better Health Foundation supports research that can help improve health outcomes, reduce growth in healthcare costs and has a positive impact on health policy.

Since 2013 Medibank has funded more than 20 research projects totalling more than $4 million.

Medibank is proud to be partnering with key leaders in the field of osteoarthritis, currently including RACGP, University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of Sydney, LaTrobe University, University of Queensland, Whitlam Orthopaedic Research Centre, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and Arthritis Australia.


[1] Arthritis Australia March 2014, A Time to Move: Osteoarthritis A national strategy to reduce a costly burden

[2] Arthritis Australia May 2016, Counting the Cost: Part 1 Healthcare Costs

[3] Arthritis Australia, 2011. The Ignored Majority: The Voice of Arthritis 2011


Media enquiries: Bronwyn Perry - 0438 545 090 /

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