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Cost Of Diabetes In US Exceeds $217 Billion

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

According to findings from a National Diabetes Economic Barometer study, undiagnosed, pre-diabetes and diabetes cost the United States an estimated $217.5 billion in 2007 due to higher medical expenditures and lost productivity.

The research shows that beyond the estimated $174 billion that is widely-accepted as the cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2007, an additional $18 billion was spent on 6.3 million people with undiagnosed diabetes; $25 billion for 57 million American adults with pre-diabetes; and $623 million for the 180,000 pregnancies where gestational diabetes is diagnosed.

The National Diabetes Economic Barometer research was conducted by The Lewin Group and commissioned by the National Changing DiabetesProgram(NCDP), an initiative created by Novo Nordisk to improve the lives of people with diabetes.

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"In individuals with pre-diabetes, we observed a significant increase in ambulatory visits for a wide variety of medical conditions, including hypertension, endocrine, metabolic and kidney complications," said Tim Dall, vice president at The Lewin Group. "Additionally, the data show that during the two years before diagnosis people exhibit an increase in ambulatory and hospital-based care for diabetes-related complications."

As the leading source of health insurance, covering about 158 million non-elderly people in America(1), employers are beginning to feel the financial sting. However, businesses can take steps to help reduce these negative consequences by focusing efforts on diabetes prevention and detection.

"We encourage businesses to take action to reduce the devastating economic consequences of this disease by learning about their workforce, engaging their employees, and making purchasing decisions that will encourage better health choices," said Dana Haza, senior director of the National Changing Diabetes Program. "If companies can help their employees learn how to better manage their health, businesses can potentially cut down on their own healthcare spending while improving the quality of life of those who work for them."

At a Forbes Innovation in Healthcare forum sponsored by Novo Nordisk's National Changing DiabetesProgram today, top executives from large employers in the U.S. discussed the critical role of business in addressing the diabetes crisis and protecting the health of our nation's current and future workforce.

"Novo Nordisk is committed to defeating diabetes, but we can't do it alone. We started the National Changing DiabetesProgram to bring together the many different groups and organizations it will take to beat this disease," said Jerzy Gruhn, president of Novo Nordisk Inc., the world leader in diabetes care. "As the leading source of healthcare for Americans, businesses have the ability to change the direction of diabetes by tailoring benefits toward prevention, education and access to treatment."