Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Spending on Diabetes Drugs on the Rise

Study Shows Expenditures Are Going Up Due to Greater Use of Newer Drugs

New Diabetes Cases on the Rise continued...

Newly released figures from the CDC bear this out. Among the highlights of the report:

  • In 2007, almost 18 million Americans had been diagnosed with diabetes, up from 11 million in 2000.
  • Another 5.7 million people had diabetes, but had not been diagnosed.
  • Another 57 million American adults had prediabetes.

Alexander and senior author Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, analyzed data from two national prescription drug databases to come up with their drug cost estimates.

They found that the estimated number of visits to a doctor for diabetes treatment increased from 25 million in 1994 to 36 million in 2007.

During the same period:

  • The percentage of patients treated with only one drug declined by almost half, from 82% to 47% of doctor visits.
  • Insulin prescriptions decreased from 38% to 28% during the period.
  • Prescriptions written for older sulfonylurea drugs declined from 67% to 34%.

Between 2001 and 2007, the average diabetes drug prescription cost rose from $56 to $76, mostly due to the increasing use of newly available drugs like Januvia and Byetta, the researchers note.

"It is important to recognize how expensive treatment for diabetes has become," Stafford says. "The near-doubling of diabetes [drug] costs may partly reflect better care, but we need to step back and examine the value of newer and more costly medications that may be overused."

Merck issued a statement in response to the study, noting that the company is committed to the development of new diabetes drugs.

"Not all diabetes treatments work for every patient and it is important to research and bring new treatment options to market to help patients to control their blood sugar levels," says Amy Rose, Merck director of media relations.

Calls to Amylin Pharmaceuticals were not returned in time for publication.

1 | 2

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections