Medical cost for diabetes

08 Oct 2014. NUS professors have completed a study that aimed to identify the total direct medical cost of type 2 diabetes.

A team led by Prof LEE Yu Chia, Joyce from Department of Pharmacy in NUS, together with her collaborators and graduate student Ms Charmaine NG Shuyu, has studied and examined the relationship between direct medical costs and diabetes-related interventions, control and complications.

This systematic review of the 30 articles from 16 countries published between 2007 and 2011 has been completed and published in Aug 2014. It aimed to provide an update on the economic impact of diabetes. Costs are incurred as a result of direct diabetes management ranged from US$150 to US$14,060 per patient per year (pppy). Costs due to diabetes-related loss of work productivity or absenteeism ranged from US$39.6 to US$7,164 pppy. Overall, estimates for the total annual costs of diabetes ranged from US$141.6 million to US$174 billion with diabetes-related hospital stay contributing to the diabetes expenditure the most.

Diabetes is recognized as a major health problem and a leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. The chronic nature of diabetes and its many complications also make it a costly disease not only to the patients and the healthcare system but also to the society as a whole. Therefore, a better understanding and updated insight on the economic burden associated with diabetes will assist policy makers to quantify the magnitude of diabetes and allow them to make evidence-based decision in establishing health care priorities and allocating scarce resources to yield the greatest benefits.

Diabetes is a costly chronic condition that creates significant financial burden for patients, healthcare system and society as a whole. Recently, the team has also completed the other study which examines Singapore's direct medical cost from health institutions and it is currently under review.




Flowchart of systematic search and review process. [Image credit: Ms CS Ng]

The initial search strategy yielded 5493 studies, from which 1502 duplicates were removed. Of the remaining 3991 articles, 429 passed the first level of screening and 400 of those were excluded at the second screening, leaving 29 articles for data extraction. During data extraction, the bibliographies of the 29 articles were searched manually and one additional article that met the selection criteria was found, giving the total of 30 articles included in this review. Overall, a total of three trained interviewers were involved in the searching and reviewing of the articles.


Ng CS, Lee JYC, Toh MPHS, Ko Y. “Cost-of-illness studies of diabetes mellitus: A systematic review.” Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 105 (2014) 151.