cost of diabetes

Cost of diabetes

As the number of people with diabetes grows worldwide including in India, the disease takes an ever-increasing portion of not only the diabetic's household budgets but also the overall healthcare budget.

Without primary prevention, the diabetes epidemic will continue to grow. Even worse, diabetes is projected to become one of the world's main disablers and killers within the next twenty-five years.

Immediate action is needed to stem the tide of diabetes and to introduce cost effective treatment strategies to reverse this trend.

What is the size of the problem?

Diabetes is growing at an alarming rate in India, home to more than 65.1 million people with the disease, compared to 50.8 million in 2010. By 2030, India's diabetes numbers are expected to cross the 100 million mark according to a 2012 report by International Diabetes Federation.

Rapid urbanization, demographic transition (change in geographical location) and negative lifestyle modifications - are major causes for increase in the driving forces that lead to diabetes.

Diabetes is an expensive disease. The chronic nature of the disease and its associated complications are the real reason behind the high cost involved. In India, estimates suggest that 85-95% of all health care costs are borne by individuals and their families from household income as most people are not insured.

The number of deaths due to diabetes is likely to be around 4,000,000 deaths year. Many of these diabetes related deaths will mostly be from cardiovascular complications.

Current cost of Diabetes Care in India

The costs involved in the care and management of diabetes are considerable for both the diabetic and the country's health care system.

Caring for diabetics means a direct cost borne by the affected diabetic, their families and health care authorities.

For a low income Indian family :

with an adult with diabetes - as much as 20 % of family income may be spent towards diabetes care,

with a diabetic child - up to 35 percent of income is spent on diabetes care.

Direct Costs

Direct costs to diabetic's and their families include:

  1. medical care
  2. drugs (medicine cost)
  3. insulin
  4.  other supplies
  5.  physician and specialist consultations
  6.  lab tests
  7.  other tests like eye screening, foot screening, etc. to be undertaken from time to time.

Therefore, the average monthly costs (expenses) for a diabetic can be anywhere between Rs. 3,000 to Rs.8,000 per month.


The above can be further divided into :
1) cost of Dr's consultation Rs. 700
2) regular lab tests Rs. 500
3) medicine and insulin cost Rs. 6.000


For a diabetic, the yearly estimated cost of routine treatment is between Rs. 35,000 - Rs. 75,000 depending on whether they are on oral drugs only or on insulin too.

If you are a diabetic than following is the estimated cost incurred for diabetes care, over a certain period of time:

No. of years        Amount spent (Rs.)
5                                 1,50,000
10                              4,00,000
20                            15,00,000


The increase in costs is due to increase in disease complications with passage of time. The cost of diabetes affects everyone and is a major financial burden. The indirect costs and intangible costs (estimated costs for which there are no actual receipts but are nevertheless incurred) may be even more.

Indirect Costs

Many diabetics may not have been able to continue working effectively due to onset of diabetes. For a middle class family, the loss of income is around Rs. 50,000 p.a., only because of sick days.

Indirect costs are:

  1. Loss of productivity due to frequent absence from work
  2. Unable to work due to disability
  3. Pre-mature retirement
  4. Pre-mature death (due to complication)

Intangible costs (estimated costs for which there are no actual receipts but are nevertheless incurred)

  1. Decrease in quality of life due to pain, stress and anxiety.
  2. Impacts the diabetic's life as well their families.
  3. These costs are difficult to measure.
  4. Diabetes treatment, particularly self- monitoring and insulin injection can be time consuming, inconvenient and uncomfortable.

Prevention or Reversal and saving cost of diabetes treatment

Preventing or reversing diabetes is the most cost effective of all interventions (actions taken to improve a medical disorder).

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