Author(s): Almutairi N, Alkharfy KM
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The prevalence of diabetes mellitus continues to increase globally. Furthermore, it is projected that healthcare expenditure on this epidemic will mount to US$490 billion in 2030. Information on the economic burden of diabetes care in Saudi Arabia is largely lacking. OBJECTIVES: This retrospective observational study evaluated the direct medical cost of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in a Saudi population in relation to glycemic control at a governmental institution from a payer's perspective. METHODS: Three hundred subjects attending a university hospital were classified into three groups (n = 100 each) based on HbA1c values to <7 \%, 7-9 \%, and >9 \%. The total direct medical costs were calculated for drug therapy, diagnostic procedures, hospitalization, and outpatient visits. The year of valuation for the costings was 2010/2011. RESULTS: The total annual direct medical cost per group was found to be US$1,384.19 for HbA1c <7 \%, US$2,036.11 for HbA1c 7-9 \%, and US$3,104.86 for HbA1c >9 \% (p < 0.001). There was also a statistically positive relationship in the total care cost of diabetic patients and the number of co-morbidities (p < 0.001). A direct association of the cost of medications that have been disbursed for diabetic patients and the medical specialty of the treating physician (r = 0.390; p < 0.0001), and the cost of laboratory analyses (r = 0.351; p < 0.0001), was observed as also between the cost of laboratory diagnosis and days of hospitalization (r = 0.478; p < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis showed that the relationship between HbA1c and total cost is independent of age and gender, while co-morbidities remain as a significant predictor for the total cost. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, the estimated direct annual medical cost of diabetes care in Saudi Arabia would be enormous. The current study offers more insight into the economic burden of diabetes on the country.
This article was published in Appl Health Econ Health Policy
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism