Study: huge economic cost of diabetes – NIS 8.5 billion a year

A person recieves a test for diabetes, illustrative (photo credit: REUTERS)
A person recieves a test for diabetes, illustrative
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The overall direct and indirect cost of diabetes in Israel -- treatment as well as low employment and productivity -- is a huge NIS 8.5 billion a year. This was the first-ever figure ever calculated here, in a joint study by Clalit Health Services and the National Insurance Institute and funded by the National Institute for Health Policy Research.
A database of diabetics was established in 2013, when about 13% of adults had been diagnosed with the disease; since then, the rate has increased.The study was based on a comparison of a sample of 150,000 patients in the general population with a diabetes diagnosis and a sample of 150,000 non-diabetics, adjusted for age, gender and ethnic group.
The direct expenditure on health services for diabetics was NIS 3.5 billion. It was also found that the average cost for health care services for diabetics was 1.75 times greater than that for a similar patient who did not have diabetes. The significance of the data is that of the total health expenditure for adults, it would have been possible to save 14% of the expenditure  if only diabetes had been prevented with regular exercise, weight loss and a proper diet.
The study also found that the overall annual damage to the national product due to diabetes morbidity is about NIS 5 billion. The rate of non-working people with diabetes who were of working age (up to 65) was 45% compared to only 35% among non-diabetics of the same age. As a result of this disability, the economy lost some NIS 1.9 billion.
The average annual income of a worker with diabetes is about 10% lower than the average annual income of an employee who is not diabetic. This reflects an average individual income gap of NIS 12,000 per year. In addition, data on the damage to Gross Domestic Product was NIS 800 million due to premature death as a result of complications of the the disease.
“Diabetes is a chronic disease whose prevalence continues to rise. It creates a significant burden on the patient in all areas of life,” said Noaz Bar Nir, director-general of Clalit, the largest health fund. “We try to prevent the disease itself and complications among diabetics in a number of ways, including promoting lifestyle changes and early detection. Due to the aging of the population, a comprehensive effort must be made by all the relevant bodies while establishing a national task force to fight diabetes,” he said.
Prof. Ran Balicer, director of the Clalit Research Institute, said: “Chronic diseases are a challenge for the health system. This is the largest-ever study in Israel on diabetes or chronic diseases in general. This type of research, if expanded and implemented in other areas, can serve as a basis for initiating innovative socio-economic programs to prevent and cope with other diseases.”