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Cost of Diabetes Rises to $218 Billion a Year

Nov 24, 2008

From just a year ago, the cost for diabetes was $173 billion. For 2007 the cost as risen to $218 billion US dollars. A new study, puts the total at $218 billion last year- the first comprehensive estimate of the financial toll diabetes takes.

Any time you have a health condition you can expect to have a fair amount of expenses. When you have a disease like diabetes, which has the potential to affect multiple body systems and often requires daily medical therapy, the health care costs add up quickly. In fact, the American Diabetes Association reports that in the United States, 1 out of every 10 health care dollars is spent on diabetes.


According to a 2006 Institute of Health Care Economics study, the bulk of diabetes healthcare expenditures are driven by the much higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes. When you look at the direct and indirect costs of managing diabetes, it becomes even more apparent why self-care and prevention of long-term complications is so important.

Why look at recent trends? The statistics speak for themselves. As the number of patients with diabetes continues to rise, the amount of direct costs attributed to it increases as well. Look at the following statistics from 1997 and 2002: Direct costs were estimated at $47 billion in 1997 and $92 billion in 2002, and per capita annual health care costs equaled $10,071 in 1997 and increased by 30 percent in 2002 to equal $13,243.  Indirect costs such as wages lost, days missed from work or disability leave were estimated at $40 billion in 2002, with 88 million days of work missed as a result of diabetes.

Certainly the daily disease management aspect of diabetes is expensive. For example, the average initial cost of insulin pumps and related supplies range from $4,999-$5,495. Other methods of insulin delivery, such as syringes and pens, have annual costs that range from $1,008-$1,496 and $2,938-$4,234, respectively.

However, increasingly the real economic burden of diabetes is due to the many types of medical complications it can cause. A 2006 report released by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline included the following statistics:

  • In 2006, treating the complications of type 2 diabetes cost an estimated $22.9 billion
  • Three out of every five people with type 2 diabetes have a minimum of one serious health condition stemming from their diabetes
  • People with type 2 diabetes pay an average of $10,000 to treat complications each year, with nearly $1,600 of that amount coming out of their own pockets

“We know those complications are out there, but the sheer magnitude of them was a surprise,” said Dr. Daniel Einhorn, an endocrinologist and secretary of the AACE, following the report’s release.

On the Net: National Changing Diabetes Program, http://www.ncdp.com