The cost of type 1 diabetes is substantial. However, it has been historically underestimated by only including direct medical costs. When including direct non-medical costs as well as indirect costs, a much more complete picture is revealed, which by far exceeds what has been reported earlier .
Direct medical costs include all costs to the delivery of health care (e.g. drugs, test supplies, costs of ambulatory, inpatient, and nursing care).
Direct non-medical costs include transportation costs to access care, trained caregiver time, and specialized daycare.
Productivity costs (indirect costs resulting from loss of productivity) includes costs related to income loss, absenteeism, presenteeism, disability payments, and life insurance payments for patients and caregivers.
Significant indirect costs, related to reduced quality of life, are omitted because of limitations in the disease economic literature.
The annual cost per type 1 diabetes patient in USA and Europe is shown in the diagram above. Factoring in the number of pediatric and adult patients, yields a cumulative economic burden for all patients in the US of ~$30B per year. The economic burden for all patients in Europe is at the same level, ~$30B per year. Extrapolating to global regions suggests a worldwide annual type 1 diabetes cost burden of ~$90B .
Many studies suggest that the major driver of costs is that of hospital admissions relating to complications, both acute and chronic .
If better treatments were available, so that treatment goals were reached, the major societal expenditures could be radically reduced.