Increased spending on drugs is seen as the primary culprit...
Based on an investigation by researchers from the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, medical spending attributable to diabetes per person doubled between 1987 and 2011.
"Despite the modest decline in the use of inpatient, ER and other medical services, the excess medical spending on those services that is attributable to diabetes continued to grow due to a substantial increase in the price of those services," the researchers wrote.
Xiaohui Zhuo, PhD, of the agency's Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and colleagues compared per person medical costs and uses among adults aged ≥18 years with and without diabetes.
The researchers used three time points, based on data from the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey and Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys 2000 to 2001 and 2010 to 2011.
Comment from our Editor-in-chief, Dave Joffe:
According to researchers from the CDC in Atlanta, medical spending attributable to diabetes per person doubled between 1987 and 2011. Part of the problem comes from the younger age that patients are developing diabetes as well as the more heroic and expensive ways we are treating patients' glucose levels and complications.
Inpatient care, ER visits, outpatient visits and prescription drugs were among the types of medical services included in the analysis. The investigators also considered changes in unit cost, as defined by expenditure per encounter for the services.
Excess medical spending per person attributed to diabetes was $2,588 (95% CI, $2,265–$3,104) in 1987, $4,205 (95% CI, $3,746–$4,920) from 2000 to 2001 and $5,378 (95% CI, $5,129–$5,688) from 2010 to 2011.
The largest proportion of the $2,790 increase was spent on prescription drugs (55%), followed by inpatient visits (24%), outpatient visits (15%) and ER visits and other medical spending (6%).
The rise in prescription drug spending was due to increases in volume of use and unit cost, but the growth in outpatient spending was almost exclusively due to more visits. Heightened unit costs drove the increases in inpatient and ER expenditures.
"Further studies are needed to assess the cost-effectiveness of increased spending on drugs," the researchers wrote.
LowCarb is tthe answer no need for more "heroic and expensive ways" to bring glucose levels down.
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