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Diabetes Foreningen publishes major impact study on diabetes related costs in Denmark

27 August 2015 Eoin Ryan

Denmark's Diabetes Association (Diabetes Foreningen) has published a major study on the societal and economic costs of diabetes mellitus in Denmark (an abstract of which is available in English). Diabetes-related social and economic costs amounted to DKK31.8 billion (USD4.75 billion) in 2011, corresponding to DKK107,000 (USD16,000) per patient per year. These costs are higher than for diabetes in the United States, according to our own IHS study which estimates that the cost per person diagnosed with diabetes in the US was USD 11,000 in 2012. The study estimates that 25% of the 380,000 diabetes cases in Denmark have serious long-term health complications (such as chronically ill patients with kidney failure, blindness, and foot ulcers leading to limbs amputations). This group of chronically ill patients account for nearly 60% of the total USD4.75 billion in social and economic costs, according to Diabetes Foreningen. The figures reveal that in 2011 diabetes related expenditure was DKK5.5 billion for primary and secondary care, DKK6.4 billion for nursing, DKK13.2 billion in lost economic productivity and DKK5.6 billion in additional costs. Lost economic activity is measured by factors such as sick leave, lower wages and early retirement. Detailed healthcare costs for the treatment and control of diabetes were not included as part of the study. But in comparison the report concluded that pharmaceutical expenditure was comparatively small at just DKK1.1 billion (USD149.6 million).

A two-part presentation based on the Diabetes Foreningen report is available in Danish (Part 1 and Part 2). The research project was part funded by Novo Nordisk (Denmark), AstraZeneca (UK), Sanofi (France), Bayer (Germany) and Merck & Co (US), although these firms did not contribute research data.

IHS has previously noted that the diabetes market segment in Denmark is likely to experience continued strong growth, on the back of government projections for a 5.5% rise in new diabetes case per year.

In order to reduce the cost per patient, the report recommends that health officials focus on a number of core policies, into funneling greater investment into improving secondary preventative care efforts and strengthening early detection screening for an estimated 200,000 undiagnosed diabetes cases. Early detection and screening of diabetes in general can also have positive health benefits in terms of reducing the risk of patients developing cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Separately, the Danish National Institute of Public Health (NPIH) has published a report (available in Danish) suggesting a significant rise in the number of Danish patients taking CVD medications in recent years. The NPIH research indicates that an estimated 1.3 million Danish patients - or 41% of the national population over the age 35 years - takes at least one pharmaceutical product for CVD. These figures include medicines for high-blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood-thinning drugs.

Implications and outlook:
Type I and II diabetes will represent an increasingly high burden on health resources in Denmark. The healthcare system is better positioned than most countries to cope, and the new government has renewed its commitment to facilitating patient access to innovative medicines. Nonetheless treatment costs are expected to rise significantly in the years to come. Within a decade Denmark is facing a rise in societal and economic costs amounting to USD8.9 billion; Diabetes Foreningen reports about 40% of costs could be due to late diagnosis and chronic complications.

Eóin Ryan is a Senior Life Sciences Analyst at IHS
Posted 27 August 2015

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