According to the latest figures diabetes now accounts for 10% of what the NHS spend on drugs every year.
The official figures from The Health and Social Care Information Centre report state £869m was spent on drugs for diabetes last year.
About 10 years ago the spend on diabetes was £514m and accounted for 6.5% of the total drug budget.
Diabetes affects 2.8 million people in England with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes and the figures include both. The main diabetic drugs are metformin and insulin but there are others.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre report was written by Ian Bullard, who said:
“It shows that 10p in the pound of the primary care prescribing bill in England is being spent on managing diabetes.
“Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent long-term conditions, and the number of patients being diagnosed with the condition is increasing each year.”
It has long been predicted that diabetes would cost the NHS a huge amount over the next 20 years. Much of the money spent on the condition is to avoid complications. By 2035 it is thought over a sixth of the NHS funding will be spent on the disease.
Sanofi, a large healthcare company involved with diabetes funded a study by researchers from the York Health Economic Consortium which was published in Diabetic Medicine, the journal of Diabetes UK charity.
The study reported that the annual NHS cost of the direct treatment of diabetes in the UK will increase from the current £10 billion to £16.9 billion over the next 25 years. The predicted rise equates to the NHS spending 17% of its entire budget on the condition, up from about 10% today.
The study also reported that the cost of treating diabetes complications associated with the condition such as stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation is expected to almost double from £7.7 billion currently to £13.5 billion by 2035.
It is difficult to predict the future and trends can change with better diagnosis, education and weight loss support but while based on data available today the report does highlight the major challenges many nations face in preventing and treating diabetes.
If you are diabetic, unsure of symptoms or are concerned about your weight your local pharmacy can be a good place to start if easier than getting to see your doctor. You often don’t need an appointment and can pop in for advice, discuss your current treatment to establish if you should have a review and check you are taking it correctly, get tested or discuss ways they may be able to help you shed some pounds.