Diabetes has already been described as an epidemic, but predictions for future increases in prevalence, especially in developing countries, point to a major healthcare crisis for the future. Very little is known about the economic impact of diabetes in the developing world where predicted increases in prevalence are greatest. This paper discusses the implications of a recent study of the economic aspects of diabetes in India. The study aims were to estimate the costs of diabetes care and to assess the awareness of patients and healthcare professionals about the prevention and treatment of diabetes. The findings confirm reports from earlier studies of the high costs of treatment amongst all socio-economic patient groups resulting in a serious burden on both patients and state resources alike. Both patients and medical practitioners displayed a lack of comprehension of the need for constant disease monitoring and consistent approaches to tight glycaemic control. The long term economic implications are worrying. With the Indian diabetic population predicted to rise to >80.9 million by the year 2030, immediate health policy restructuring and investment will be needed if the best use is to be made of the scarce healthcare resources.