|Health expenditures for diabetes|
Diabetes costs hundreds of billions of dollars to treat each year. World treatment costs are growing more quickly than world population. However, the larger costs of diabetes arise from disability and loss of life caused by its preventable complications, including heart, kidney, eye and foot disease.
Diabetes is one of the world’s most important causes of expenditure, mortality, disability and lost economic growth. A long list of simple, cheap treatments can help prevent these losses and many of these treatments will actually save hard money in countries, rich and poor. In fact, the returns to better diabetes prevention and treatment are relatively higher in the world’s low- and middle-income countries, where most persons with diabetes live but few are treated cost-effectively.
Global health expenditures to treat and prevent diabetes and its complications total at least USD232 billion in 2007. By 2025, this number will exceed USD302 billion. Expressed in international dollars (ID), which correct for differences in purchasing power, at least ID286 billion of goods and services was consumed by diabetes in 2007, and at least ID381 billion in 2025.
More than 80% of expenditures for medical care for diabetes are made in the world’s economically richest countries, not in the low- and middle-income countries where 80% of persons with diabetes will soon live. In the world’s poorest countries, not enough is spent to provide even the least expensive lifesaving diabetes drugs.
In poor and middle-income countries, medical care purchases primarily go towards preventing the immediate life-threatening diabetic complication, high blood sugar. Little is spent to prevent cardiovascular disease, the predominant cause of death from diabetes, and little is available to treat complications when they appear.
Higher-income countries spend large sums to treat diabetic complications. In these countries, even expensive interventions to prevent these complications can be cost-effective. However, a long list of diabetes interventions is cost-effective around the globe, in both developing and developed locales. Some of these treatments can save further medical expenditures.
The world suffers huge losses in the form of foregone economic growth as a result of diabetes. Lost economic growth may be a relatively greater problem in poorer countries. Between 2005 and 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts net losses in national income from diabetes and cardiovascular disease of some ID557 billion in China, ID303 billion in the Russian Federation, ID336 billion in India, ID49 billion in Brazil and ID2 billion in the United Republic of Tanzania (2005 ID).
These losses arise from the premature death and disability that untreated diabetes causes. Perhaps 25 million years of life are lost annually to mortality caused by diabetes. Reduced quality of life may reach a similar magnitude among the living.
The international dollar (ID) is a hypothetical unit of currency that has the same purchasing power in every country. Conversions from local currencies to international dollars are calculated using tables of purchasing power parities (PPP), which are taken from studies of prices for the same basket of goods and services in different countries.