During those 11 years, total costs of prescription drugs for adults diabetes patients also increased nearly fourfold, from $4 billion to $19 billion. In addition, the per-patient cost of prescription drugs more than doubled, jumping from $495 to $1,048 a year.
"Costs have risen for a number of reasons," Resta said. "Of course, with more patients, there are more costs. But even the cost per patient has gone up. Newer diabetes medications are expensive, often 10 times the cost of older generic medicines. When patients are diagnosed younger, they are more likely to eventually require multiple diabetes medications, which also drives up costs."
And with every diabetes-linked complication, medical bills rise too.
"The longer the duration of diabetes, the more likely the patient is to have complications," Resta explained. "Each of these complications (eye damage, kidney damage, nerve damage, foot infections, cardiovascular disease) adds to the cost of taking care of diabetes. Treating the complications is often much more expensive than treating the blood sugars. So all of these factors are contributiing to the skyrocketing costs."
The U.S. National Diabetes Education Program explains how you can prevent diabetes.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: Christine Resta, M.D., division of endocrinology, Maimonides Medical Center, New York City; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, news release, Jan. 5, 2011
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