Direct healthcare costs of diabetes mellitus patients in Spain
Objectives. To estimate the healthcare resources spent by diabetic patients in Spain during the year 2002. Methods. The present work is a cost-of-illness study. Direct healthcare costs were estimated using rates of DM, based on primary and secondary sources of information. A range of prevalence from 5% to 6% of the adult population was determined. The total cost was composed of six items: insulin and oral hypoglycemic agents; other drugs; disposable and consumable goods (glucose test strips, needles and syringes); hospitalization; primary care visits; visits to specialists. Results. The estimated direct cost of DM during the year 2002 ranges from (euros)2.4 billion to (euros)2.67 billion. Hospital costs had the highest weight ((euros)933 million) in the total, followed by non-insulin, non-hypoglycemic-agent drugs ((euros)777-932 million). Much lower are the costs of insulin and oral hypoglycemic agents ((euros)311 million), primary care visits ((euros)181-272 million), specialized visits ((euros)127-145 million) and disposable elements ((euros)70-81 million). The per-diabetic, per-year cost ranges between (euros)1,290 to 1,476. Discussion. Despite our rather conservative approach to the issue, our findings demonstrate the high direct healthcare costs of diabetic patients. Likewise, they illustrate the magnitude of the costs of treatment of DM-related complications.
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