Worldwide economic burden of diabetes estimated at $1.3 trillion

The world faces a substantial economic burden from diabetes—about $1.3 trillion, or 1.8% of global gross domestic product (GDP), according to a new study from researchers at the University of Göttingen, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues.

The study was published online April 26, 2017 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

In contrast to most earlier estimates of diabetes’ economic burden, the new study incorporated not only the direct costs of the disease, such as expenditures for insulin, testing strips, and treatment, but also indirect costs representing production shortfalls due to illness and premature death, which account for nearly 35% of the total economic burden.

The study also found that large diabetes-related costs are a problem not only in high-income countries but in poorer world regions as well.

Harvard Chan School researchers involved in the study included Rifat Atun, professor of global health systems, Till Bärnighausen, adjunct professor of global health, and Sebastian Vollmer, adjunct professor of global health.

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Read a press release from the University of Göttingen: Significant economic burden from diabetes: International team of scientists calculate costs of $1.3 trillion