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Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes Accounted for $218 Billion in Costs in 2007, Health Affairs Paper Demonstrates

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 General News J E 4
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PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 13 A new analysis found that the cost of diabetes and pre-diabetes reached $218 billion in 2007, with the exploding number of cases of type 2 diabetes responsible for the majority of the costs. The National Changing Diabetes® Program (NCDP), a program of Novo Nordisk, commissioned the analysis, published online as a Web First article today in Health Affairs and performed by researchers at The Lewin Group.

According to the study, diagnosed type 2 diabetes accounted for $174.4 billion of 2007 spending on diabetes and undiagnosed type 2 diabetes was responsible for $18 billion in costs. Spending on type 1 diabetes totaled $14.9 billion in 2007. Pre-diabetes, a state of elevated blood glucose that affects one in every four adults in the U.S. and is a precursor to diabetes, cost $25 billion. Gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy, was associated with $636 million in costs.

"Families dealing directly with the disease know how out-of-pocket medical expenses and reduced earnings can be fiscally disastrous, but diabetes hurts every American," said Tim Dall, managing director of The Lewin Group, who led the research. "The burden of diabetes and pre-diabetes -- $700 for every man, woman and child in the country in 2007 -- represents a hidden 'tax' that we all pay through higher insurance premiums."

The analysis examined both direct medical costs, which accounted for $153 billion in spending, and $65 billion in indirect costs associated with absenteeism and disease-related productivity losses.

Spending on each case of type 1 diabetes totaled about $15,000 in 2007. Type 2 diabetes cost nearly $10,000 per patient per year. In contrast, those with pre-diabetes required an average of only $443 in additional medical costs.

But a growing body of research has shown that low-cost pre-diabetes patients can cut their risk of developing diabetes with lifestyle modifications. The landmark Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) trial found that lifestyle modifications including increases in physical activity and moderate weight loss in patients at risk for diabetes could cut their rate of developing diabetes by as much as 58 percent compared with a control group. Additionally, a 10-year follow-up of DPP patients published last year found that the benefits originally seen persisted for at least a decade, with individuals in the lifestyle modification intervention experiencing a 34 percent lower risk of diabetes than those who received no intervention.

"Diabetes, in the late stages, is an expensive disease to treat. Our best chance of keeping the cost of diabetes manageable is to take the lessons of the DPP and work to prevent diabetes in those at highest risk," said Michael Mawby, the chief government affairs officer at Novo Nordisk. "The only way to make this effort work on a large scale is through thoughtful, nationally funded programs."

Without intervention, costs are expected to skyrocket. Research published last year in the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care projected that the country's diabetes population will double over the next 25 years and direct annual medical spending on the disease is projected to hit $336 billion by 2034.

About the National Changing Diabetes® Program

The National Changing Diabetes® Program (NCDP) is a multi-faceted initiative that brings together leaders in diabetes and policy to improve the lives of people with diabetes. NCDP strives to create change in the U.S. health care system to provide dramatic improvement in the prevention and care of diabetes. Launched in 2005, NCDP is a program of Novo Nordisk. For more information, please visit www.ncdp.com.

About Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company with an 86-year history of innovation and achievement in diabetes care. The company has the broadest diabetes product portfolio in the industry, including the most advanced products within the area of insulin delivery systems. In addition to diabetes care, Novo Nordisk has a leading position within areas such as hemostasis management, growth hormone therapy, and hormone therapy for women. Novo Nordisk's business is driven by the Triple Bottom Line: a commitment to social responsibility to employees and customers, environmental soundness and economic success. With headquarters in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs more than 27,550 employees in 81 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries. Novo Nordisk's B shares are listed on the stock exchanges in Copenhagen and London. Its ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol 'NVO'. For global information, visit novonordisk.com; for United States information, visit novonordisk-us.com.

SOURCE National Changing Diabetes Program
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