How do type 2 diabetes mellitus-related chronic complications impact direct medical cost in four major cities of urban China?

Value Health. 2009 Sep;12(6):923-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4733.2009.00561.x.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the direct medical costs of type 2 diabetes mellitus with or without complications, and to determine the economic impact of complications on type 2 diabetic patients.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of prevalent type 2 diabetes carried out in four major cities of China. The study populations were 1530 outpatients and 524 inpatients from clinics or wards of a total of 20 hospitals, using a two-phase subject enrollment process, by face-to-face interview with a unique questionnaire.

Results: The annual direct medical cost per patient was estimated to be 4800 Chinese Yuan (CNY) in median or 10,164 CNY in mean. There is a difference between annual direct medical costs for patients with or without complications (6056 vs. 3583 CNY; P < 0.001). It is also significantly different for the pay-out-of-pocket proportions (P = 0.015) between the patients with (44.6%) and without complications (40.4%). The direct medical cost varied significantly among the four cities (P < 0.001). Patients who simultaneously suffered microvascular and macrovascular diseases had higher direct medical cost (7600) than those with macrovascular (6000) (P = 0.012) and microvascular disease (5364) (P < 0.001), and those without both (3600) (P < 0.001). The correlation was statistically significant between the number of complications and direct medical costs (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The high economic burden raised by diabetes and its complications challenges the Chinese health-care system. It implicates an urgent need of intervention to prevent the development of long-term complications among the diabetic population, especially on the development of complications in high-cost body system.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cities
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Complications / economics*
  • Diabetes Complications / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / economics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / economics
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult