With each passing year, diabetes is becoming a more expensive condition to treat and management. In fact, new analysis suggests that today’s diabetes patients are facing twice the annual expense as they would have 20 years ago, suggesting that things are getting considerably worse for millions.
According to the results of the study, the average diabetes patient now pays $2,790 more each and every year than back in 1987. Most troubling of all was the revelation that the majority of the additional annual spending is going on nothing but essential medications – the costs of which have been skyrocketing for decades.
“People need to be mindful about the substantial increase in the cost of diabetes, which has been partially fueled by the rising prices of newer drugs,” said study leader Xiaohui Zhou, a CDC health economist.
For the purposes of the project, a team of researchers looked into tens of thousands of cases recorded in three consecutive National Medical Expenditure Surveys. Back in 1987, the average annual diabetes management expense footed per patient came out at $2,588. By the year 2000 this has increased to $4,205 and once again in 2010 the annual average came out at $5,378.
A variety of additional factors and potential expenses were considered and accounted for by the team, though it still came to pass that prescription medication contributed on average 55% of the additional annual expense. The next highest contributor was inpatient visits at 24%, followed by outpatient visits at 15%.
“A growing trend of increased spending on anti-diabetic prescription medications has also been observed in other developed countries,” added Zhou, suggesting that the problem is in no way confined to the United States.
“This growing trend of diabetes cost is simply unsustainable. Besides the efforts to bend the treatment cost, the efforts to reduce the number of future diabetes patients are imperative.”
But while costs appear to be on the up, some leading medical professionals suggest it’s a price that’s more than worth paying for superior treatment that’s both more effective and less harmful to health in general.