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Oct 18
Press Release: On World Osteoporosis Day, Survey Finds the Impact of Fractures Due to Osteoporosis is Being Ignored

On World Osteoporosis Day, Survey Finds the Impact of Fractures Due to Osteoporosis is Being Ignored

  • Survey finds 7 in 10 women ages 60+ think fragile bones are an inevitable part of getting older while underlying osteoporosis may be the cause.
  • Less than half (49%) said their healthcare professional had spoken to them about osteoporosis or fragility fractures.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA (October 18, 2018) – New survey results released by UCB today, ahead of World Osteoporosis Day, October 20, reveal a startling lack of awareness and understanding of osteoporosis and fragility fractures in those most at risk.

A survey of 500 women in the U.S. ages 60 and older conducted by Harris Interactive Ltd. with UCB found 70% of women in this age group think fragile bones are an inevitable part of getting older.  But research shows that fragility fractures are commonly a result of an underlying condition: osteoporosis. It causes bones to weaken at a faster rate than normal, making them fragile and more likely to break. For people with osteoporosis, even the slightest bump or fall could result in a fragility fracture. After experiencing the first fracture, the likelihood of incurring another within the next year is five times greater.

In the U.S., fragility fractures are responsible for approximately 500,000 hospitalizations, 800,000 emergency room visits, and 180,000 nursing home placements each year.3   And the likelihood of a second fracture is significantly higher for those who have had already had a fracture. Still, nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said their knowledge of osteoporosis was low or very low with 52% thinking fragility fractures in older age are often a result of an unlucky fall or accident, even though the underlying cause of the fracture may be osteoporosis rather than simply old age. With the number of Medicare beneficiaries projected to grow from 54 million in 2015 to more than 80 million by 2030, awareness of osteoporosis, the risk of fragility fractures, and how to reduce this risk is critical.4
A strong majority (91%) of respondents said they are more interested in being proactive about managing their health and wellbeing compared to their parents’ generation. While patients have expressed a desire to be proactive, the survey found only 15% of respondents bring up the topic of osteoporosis with their healthcare professional when they visit them. Still less than half (49%) said their healthcare professional had spoken to them about osteoporosis or fragility fractures.1   

“Our survey confirmed, older Americans want to live longer, healthier lives and want to be proactive about managing their health and wellbeing,” said Todd Peterson, head of the U.S. Bone Patient Value Unit. “Increased awareness of osteoporosis and the risks associated with fragility fractures is an important part of ensuring we can meet the needs of our aging population.” 

Fragility fractures have the potential to impose a significant burden on a person’s life, often making everyday activities such as eating, dressing, shopping or driving difficult.5   For those who suffer a hip fracture, 40% are not able to walk independently again and up to a quarter will die in their first year after the fracture. 6, 7, 8, 9 

“Worldwide, fragility fractures affect one in three women aged 50 and above. Yet the survey shows those most likely to experience a fragility fracture are unaware of the condition and the significant impact it can have on their independence and quality of life,” said Dr. Pascale Richetta, Head of Bone and Executive Vice President at UCB. “From the survey it's plain to see that today’s over 60’s maintain a great passion for life and aspirations beyond those of their parents’ generation, so questions must be asked as to why a condition that today causes more than 8.9 million fragility fractures annually and can be an obstacle to healthy aging is being overlooked.”

For more information on osteoporosis and fragility fractures, visit www.ucb.com/disease-areas/Osteoporosis.

Global Survey Data is available on UCB.com.

For further information
Allyson Funk, Head of U.S. Communications, UCB
T +1 770 970 8338, allyson.funk@ucb.com 

Scott Fleming, Bone Communications Lead, UCB
T +44 7702 777378, scott.fleming@ucb.com

About the survey
UCB together with Harris Interactive Ltd. conducted a survey of women aged 60 and over. The survey was conducted in August-September 2018 as part of an initiative to investigate awareness, attitudes and perceived risk of osteoporosis and fragility fractures in ten major industrialized countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 
4,504 women aged 60+ years were interviewed online about osteoporosis and fragility fractures. There was a sample size of n=500 in most countries, except for Belgium, Denmark and Sweden where the sample size was n=333.

About UCB, Inc. 
At UCB, everything we do starts with a simple question: “How will this make a difference to the lives of people living with severe diseases?” We have a passionate, long-term commitment to discovering and developing innovative medicines that transform the lives of people living with severe diseases. We do that by connecting with patients and their families around the world living with the physical and social burdens of severe disease. Those connections offer new perspectives, drive innovation, and offer the hope of a new generation of therapies that are helping to transform lives. 

With a team of approximately 7,500 employees and operations in more than 40 countries, we are a global biopharmaceutical company investing more than a quarter of our revenue in cutting-edge scientific research to meet unmet patient needs. Global headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium, with U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Additional U.S. UCB sites include global clinical development at our Research Triangle Park, North Carolina campus (UCB Biosciences, Inc.), and research supporting UCB’s pipeline in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1 Harris Interactive. Osteoporosis and Fragility Fracture Risk Survey 2018.
2 van Geel TA, van Helden S, Geusens PP, Winkens B, Dinant GJ. Clinical subsequent fractures cluster in time after first fractures. Ann Rheum Dis 2009;68:99–102.
3 Gass, M. and B. Dawson-Hughes, Preventing Osteoporosis-Related Fractures: An Overview. Am J Med, 2006. 119(4 (Supp 1)): p. 3S-11S.
4 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission Report (June 2015). “The next generation of Medicare beneficiaries” http://www.medpac.gov/docs/default-source/reports/chapter-2-the-next-generation-of-medicare-beneficiaries-june-2015-report-.pdf?sfvrsn=0 
5 Cooper C (1997) The crippling consequences of fractures and their impact on quality of life. Am J Med 103:12S-17S; discussion 17S-19S
6 International Osteoporosis Foundation. The Global Burden of Osteoporosis. What you need to know, Available at:  http://www.iofbonehealth.org/data-publications/fact-sheets/what-you-need-know-about-osteoporosis (last accessed September 2018).
7 Bentler SE, Liu L, Obrizan M, et al. The Aftermath of Hip Fracture: Discharge Placement, Functional Status Change, and Mortality. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2009;170:1290–1299.
8 Hu F, Jiang C, Shen J, et al. Preoperative predictors for mortality following hip fracture surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Injury, 2012; 43: 676–685.
9 Magaziner J, Simonsick EM, Kashner TM, et al. (1990) Predictors of functional recovery one year following hospital discharge for hip fracture: a prospective study. J Gerontol 45: M101.


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