Diabetes spending reaches $1.5 billion in 2008–09

Spending on diabetes has increased in recent years, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Diabetes expenditure in Australia 2008-09, shows that spending on diabetes rose by 86% between 2000–01 and 2008–09, after taking inflation into account—this compares with a rise of 60% for all diseases combined.

In 2011–12, around 999,000 Australians had diabetes—about 4.6% of the Australian population.

‘The number of Australians with diabetes is rising and the increase in spending partly reflects this,’ said AIHW spokesperson Susana Senes.

‘Other factors that may lead to expenditure increases include patient choices, changes to patient treatment and management options, access and costs.’

Total allocated health-care spending on diabetes was around $1.5 billion in 2008–09—or 2.3% of all allocated health-care expenditure in Australia.

‘Diabetes spending for hospital admitted patient services was conservatively estimated to be about $647 million in 2008–09, spending for out-of-hospital medical expenses was $362 million and for blood-glucose-lowering medications it was $498 million’, Ms Senes said.

An additional $153 million was spent on government programs and subsidies, research and gestational diabetes programs.

The area where the largest spending increase took place was for patients who were admitted to hospital, for which expenditure more than doubled—from $300 million to $647 million between 2000–01 and 2008–09.

Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are the main forms of the disease. In Australia around 85% of those with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes and around 12% have Type 1 diabetes.

At least 60% of diabetes expenditure in 2008–09 was for Type 2 diabetes.

The increasing number of people with diabetes in Australia is primarily the result of increases in Type 2 diabetes.

Many factors may have contributed to the overall increase in the number of people with Type 2 diabetes. These include an ageing population (Type 2 diabetes is more common in older age groups), increasing levels of obesity, more people with diabetes being diagnosed, and people with diabetes living longer.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 16 July 2013

Further information: Susana Senes, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1171, mob. 0407 915 851