November 5, 2012

Feather in the Cap of Diabetes Research

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According to JDRF, three studies are confirming that new diabetes treatments are set to save substantial money in years to come.

A collaboration of studies have assessed tens of billions of dollars saved by Medicare and the overall economy in the next few decades. The studies were commissioned by the JDRF, the leading global organization focused on T1D research. The studies investigated the impact of improved diabetes treatment on federal entitlement programs and the overall economy.

The federal monies for Type 1 diabetes (T1D) effect research initiatives like the Special Diabetes Program (SDP).  The SDP funds type 1 diabetes research but also advances treatments relevant for type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Current figures show that diabetes costs the economy $174 billion each year. As with the expected rate of diabetes diagnosis, T1D and T2D, this too is projected to triple in the next 25 years. The cost of healthcare for diabetes complications could be devastating.

Jeffrey Brewer is the president and CEO of JDRF. He said “The SDP brings patients and families closer to improved treatments and an eventual cure and has the added benefit of giving the federal government and taxpayers a tremendous return on investment.”

Considering diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, and an average cost of $82,000 per patient who experiences kidney failure, there is no fiscal logic to not funding SDP in their pursuits of advanced treatments for diabetes, T1D and T2D.

The cost of kidney failure from diabetes in 2009 was $42.5 billion, of which $29 billion was paid by Medicare. If the kidney failure rates from diabetes are lowered by 50%, cumulative savings to Medicare after 10 years will reach $475 million for T1D and $14 billion for T2D.

SDP research found that tighter glucose control leads to less diabetes complications. This costly load of complications such as kidney failure, heart disease, blindness, and other health afflictions will prove to mitigate the heavy expenditures diabetes complications inflict personally and financially. Furthermore, SDP research continues to accelerate development of an artificial pancreas systems that helps people with diabetes better manage blood sugar.

Diabetes and glucose testing go hand-in-hand. Another aspect of cost effectiveness discovered by the recent studies found glucose testing strategies that could save Medicare from $450-$810 million for T1D and $5-$45 billion for T2D after 10 years.

Most importantly, the opportunity cost of funding the SDP in their research in advancing treatments for diabetes to improve the prognosis of life is indisputable. The savings would generate an annual rate of return of 163%, year after year, on the federal investment in the SDP program. Hedge funds don’t see that kind of  ROI..

The SDP is currently funded through September 2013 at $150 million per year. The funding has always been renewed a year in advance in order to ensure program continuity and avoid the need to terminate promising research. The only way to ensure funding continues uninterrupted is to tell Congress renew the Special Diabetes Program.

Whether you’re voting for the Romney/Ryan campaign or the Obama/Biden ticket – you are strongly encouraged to implore Congress to renew the Special Diabetes Program. Come January 21, 2013 it’s suffrage that will put a democrat or a republican in the White House. However, today there is a person with diabetes suffering in your house. Tell Congress to renew SDP to get the most bang for the buck in diabetes research funding.

Visit Your Diabetes Health for more resources about health.