Objective: To review the recent literature (January 2000-November 2005) regarding the impact of antidiabetic medications and glycemic control on the overall costs of care for patients with diabetes in U.S. managed care organizations (MCOs).
Summary: The pharmacy component accounts for typically 20% to 30% (full range, 10%-65%) of overall costs for MCO patients with diabetes. About 30% of pharmacy expenses are directly related to glycemic control, while the balance is spent on the management of macrovascular and microvascular complications related to diabetes and other common comorbidities such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia. Cost offsets and/or cost savings have been shown with the initiation of insulin therapy, including the use of newer short-acting insulins. Increasing medication possession ratios for antidiabetic medications (including insulins) are correlated with reduced overall health care costs, particularly reductions in hospitalization rates. Patients with diagnosed diabetes not receiving medications have significantly increased health care resource utilization. We identified 8 studies that indicatred that improvements in glycemic control lower overall per-patient direct costs within MCOs.
Conclusions: The literature to date suggests that improving glycemic control and antidiabetic medication persistence reduce overall medical costs for patients with diabetes in managed care plans. Continued expansion of antidiabetic medication options will place increasing pressure on MCOs to assess the return on investment for newer pharmacotherapies. Routine measurement of economic and quality-of-life outcomes alongside clinical outcomes will become necessary for assessing the total value that new antidiabetic medications provide and whether cost offsets to managed care exist. Appropriate use of antidiabetic medications, including medication compliance, is an important component in a strategy to achieve glycemic control and may improve outcomes for patients with diabetes.