On March 22, 2018, advocates and researchers participated in the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Annual Call to Congress. As coauthors of the ADA’s quinquennial study on the Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S., we participated in the press conference on Capitol Hill where ADA’s Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer William T. Cefalu, MD, presented the key findings of the report. Other speakers were Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) who are co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, ADA’s 2018 President of Science and Medicine Jane E.B. Reusch, MD, and Martha P. Clark, MBA, the ADA’s interim CEO.

Key findings from the report, published in Diabetes Care, include:

  • The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 in the U.S. is $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity.
  • In 2017, an estimated 24.7 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with diabetes, representing 7.6% of the total population (and 9.7% of the adult population).
  • People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of ∼$16,750 per year, of which ∼$9,600 is attributed to diabetes.
  • People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures ∼2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.
  • Approximately 277,000 premature deaths attributed to diabetes occurred in 2017.
  • After adjusting for inflation, economic costs of diabetes increased by 26% from 2012 to 2017 due to the increased prevalence of diabetes and the increased cost per person with diabetes.
  • Medications constitute 43% of the total direct medical burden. This includes nearly $15 billion for insulin, $15.9 billion for other anti-diabetes agents, and $71.2 billion in greater use of other prescription medications attributed to higher disease prevalence associated with diabetes.

Senators Collins and Shaheen and the three ADA speakers all spoke of the importance of continued investment into research on diabetes treatment and prevention-noting the value of innovative medicines and medical devices to help people with diabetes improve their quality of life, prevent or delay onset of comorbidities of diabetes, lower mortality, and reduce hospitalizations.

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