Study shows rise in the cost of diabetes nationwide

May 1, 2003

Pharmaceutical Representative

The annual cost of diabetes in medical expenditures and lost productivity climbed from $98 billion in 1997 to $132 billion in 2002.

The annual cost of diabetes in medical expenditures and lost productivity climbed from $98 billion in 1997 to $132 billion in 2002, according to a study by the Alexandria, VA-based American Diabetes Association. The direct medical costs of diabetes more than doubled in that time, from $44 billion in 1997 to $91.8 billion in 2002.

According to the study, the nation spends $13,243 per year on each person with diabetes, compared with $2,560 per person for those who don't have diabetes.

After adjusting for differences in age, sex and race/ethnicity between people with and without diabetes, the study found that medical expenses incurred by people with diabetes are about 2.4 times higher. The figures take into account spending by individuals, employers, insurers and government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. No cost estimates were projected for the nearly six million people who are believed to have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed.

"Diabetes imposes a substantial cost burden to society and, in particular, to those individuals with diabetes and their families," ADA President Francine R. Kaufman said. "Eliminating or reducing the health problems caused by diabetes through factors such as better access to preventive care, more widespread diagnosis, more intensive disease management and the advent of new medical technologies could significantly improve the quality of life for people with diabetes and their families, while at the same time potentially reducing national expenditures for healthcare services and increasing productivity in the U.S. economy."

Other findings

The study also found that:

•Â Direct medical expenditures of $91.8 billion included $23.2 billion for diabetes care, $24.6 billion for chronic diabetes-related complications and $44.1 billion for excess prevalence of general medical conditions.

•Â Indirect costs resulting from lost workdays, restricted activity days, mortality and permanent disabilities due to diabetes totaled $39.8 billion.

•Â Cardiovascular disease is the most costly complication of diabetes, accounting for more than $17.6 billion of the $91.8 billion in direct medical costs for diabetes in 2002.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 17 million Americans have diabetes, including many who are unaware of their condition. PR

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