Diabetes Population to Double, Costs to Nearly Triple by 2034

The number of people in the United States with diabetes will nearly double over the next 25 years, while spending on the disease will nearly triple, according to a new report by researchers at the University of Chicago. Consumer Spending logo

According to the study, 44.1 million people will have diabetes in 2034, while spending on the disease will total $336 billion. Those figures currently are 23.7 million and $113 billion, respectively. Meanwhile, Medicare patients with diabetes will more than double, from 6.5 million to 14.1 million, while Medicare spending will go from $45 billion in 2009 to $171 billion in 2034.

"Obesity is a significant driver of future increases in the number of Americans with diabetes," University of Chicago National Opinion Research Center researcher and study author Michael O'Grady said in a statement. "While our modeling, as well as that done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, project obesity rates leveling off, neither model has obesity rates lowering substantially."

The researchers used a model that considers factors not used by government budget analysts, including natural progression of the disease, effects of treatment and U.S. obesity rates.

"High obesity rates among the American population over an extended period of time substantially increases the probability of developing Type 2 diabetes," O'Grady said.

Despite the significant increase, retail pharmacies have the opportunity to help bring some of those costs down.  According to analysts, pharmacists and employers can work together to help diabetes patients manage their disease and ensure they remain compliant with medication regimens, thus helping to reduce costs.

Study conducted by drug maker Novo Nordisk through its National Changing Diabetes Program,  December 2009.  Website: www​.novonordisk​.com.