Diabetes prevalence, risk continue to increase, driving up global costs

The International Diabetes Federation released its latest findings on the global picture for diabetes, which is foreboding: 366 million diabetics worldwide (a 22% increase over 2009), an annual death count of 4.6 million, and a health care bill of 465 billion.

The diabetes market, which includes both pharmaceuticals and medical devices, is large, and is growing steadily for four main reasons. First, the prevalence of diabetes is increasing, particularly that of type 2 in developed countries and those with increasing prosperity. Type 1 diabetes is also increasing, though less dramatically. Second, type 2 diabetes is responsive to drug therapy, and there is a continuing search for newer, better pharmacological agents. Third, insulin, required for all cases of type 1 and some of type 2 diabetes, poses administration problems, offering opportunities for new delivery systems. Fourth, patients with diabetes must monitor their condition by frequently checking the level of glucose in their blood, and there are ongoing attempts to make this process easier and more user-friendly by developing more advanced (and expensive) devices.

A fifth driving factor in the diabetes marketplace is the search for a fundamentally better way to manage the disease. Some options are mainly surgical—transplants of pancreatic cells, for example. Another focus for research is to combine glucose monitoring with insulin administration in a self-controlled wearable device. And farther in the future are prospects for using stem cells to grow new beta cells, and for using genetic knockout techniques to block the metabolic processes that cause diabetes.

A Many-Sided Market

The diabetes market includes both pharmaceutical and medical device elements. The pharmaceutical aspect is again divided between insulin and oral antidiabetic drugs. The medical device aspect is made up of instruments for diagnosis and monitoring with their attendant consumables, and a range of devices for administering insulin. Some of these devices contain prepackaged insulin, so that they may be regarded as both medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

See IDF story at Medical News Today: 366 Million Diabetics Worldwide, Alarming Death Rates As Epidemic Continues To Worsen.


The global market for products in the management of diabetes is detailed in the MedMarket Diligence Report #D510, “Diabetes Management: Products, Technologies, Markets and Opportunities Worldwide 2009-2018.”

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