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Diabetes Set to Increase from 177 to 370 Million by 2030

Apr 26, 2005

A diabetes epidemic is under way. According to the World Health Organization and the US is number one.

An estimated 30m people worldwide had some form of diabetes in 1985; by 2000, the number had increased to 177m. WHO projections suggest that the number of people suffering from the disease will increase to some 370m by 2030.


This new report focuses on 10 key countries, providing coverage of the market in North America, Europe, Japan and Latin America. These countries accounted for 86% of the global market in 2002. The largest market by a huge margin is the US, which, at close to $7bn in 2002, was well over five times larger than the second-ranked market, Japan. Although 2002 was a relatively poor year in the US (with little increase in overall sales), the American market has grown rapidly in recent years, to account for 57% of world sales, compared with less than 50% in 1998. In contrast, relatively steady sales increases in Japan and third-ranked Germany have resulted in a loss of market share for these countries, in global terms. This has also happened elsewhere in Europe, such as in France, Italy and Spain. In contrast, the markets in Canada and Mexico have expanded rapidly.

The costs involved in the care and management of diabetes are increasing rapidly. The WHO estimates that, on a global basis, 4-5% of health budgets is spent on diabetes and diabetes-related illnesses. As discussed in this report, a person with diabetes incurs medical costs that are two to five times higher than those of a person without diabetes. Diabetes incurs considerable indirect costs due to the number of patients who may not be able to continue working or work as effectively as they could before the onset of their condition. Factoring in such indirect costs, the American Diabetes Association calculated that the total cost of diabetes in the US was $132bn in 2002.

The diabetes market is concentrated in the hands of six key players, which between them account for three-quarters of sales. In 2002, the market was headed by Lilly, with sales of $2bn and a 16% share. Second-ranked Takeda made sales of over $1.8bn, to account for almost 15%. This put the increasingly focused Japanese pharmaceutical company just ahead of Novo Nordisk, which is something of a specialist in the diabetes market. The next three companies in the rankings were the major multinationals, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Bristol- Myers Squibb (BMS) and Aventis.

Key Findings:

– Currently 4-5% of health budgets is spent on diabetes and diabetes- related illness: this expenditure is also forecast to increase rapidly

– In the short term, recently-launched oral antidiabetics, as well as fast and long acting insulins, will drive the market

– There is also a rapid increase in the number of children presenting with the disease

– The market formed by such products totalled over $12bn in 2002

– With sales of $7bn, the US is the dominant market, ahead of Japan and Germany

– Six companies account for 75% of global diabetes sales

– In oral antidiabetics, as well as in insulins, marketers of innovative products face increasing competition from lower-priced generics and, in Europe, parallel imports

The prevalence of diabetes will increase from 177m worldwide to 370m by 2030. But the market faces unprecedented change in terms of:

– Obesity driving market growth

– Intense competition from effective generics such as metformin and the sulphonylureas

– Uncertain performance of glitazones in non-US markets

– Impact of oral antidiabetics and oral or inhaled insulins

– Development of drugs targeting specific symptoms

– Payees’ increasing resistance to rapidly increasing healthcare costs