Estimating the current and future costs of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the UK, including direct health costs and indirect societal and productivity costs

Diabet Med. 2012 Jul;29(7):855-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2012.03698.x.


Aims: To estimate the current and future economic burdens of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the UK.

Methods: A top-down approach was used to estimate costs for 2010/2011 from aggregated data sets and literature. Prevalence and population data were used to project costs for 2035/2036. Direct health costs were estimated from data on diagnosis, lifestyle interventions, ongoing treatment and management, and complications. Indirect costs were estimated from data on mortality, sickness, presenteeism (potential loss of productivity among people who remain in work) and informal care.

Results: Diabetes cost approximately £ 23.7bn in the UK in 2010/2011: £ 9.8bn in direct costs (£1bn for Type 1 diabetes and £ 8.8bn for Type 2 diabetes) and £ 13.9bn in indirect costs (£ 0.9bn and £ 13bn). In real terms, the 2035/2036 cost is estimated at £ 39.8bn: £ 16.9bn in direct costs (£ 1.8bn for Type 1 diabetes and £ 15.1bn for Type 2 diabetes) and £ 22.9bn in indirect costs (£ 2.4bn and £ 20.5bn). Sensitivity analysis applied to the direct costs produced a range of costs: between £ 7.9bn and £ 11.7bn in 2010/2011 and between £ 13.8bn and £20bn in 2035/2036. Diabetes currently accounts for approximately 10% of the total health resource expenditure and is projected to account for around 17% in 2035/2036.

Conclusions: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are prominent diseases in the UK and are a significant economic burden. Data differentiating between the costs of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are sparse. Complications related to the diseases account for a substantial proportion of the direct health costs. As prevalence increases, the cost of treating complications will grow if current care regimes are maintained.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / economics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Efficiency*
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Expenditures / trends
  • Health Resources / economics*
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • National Health Programs / economics*
  • National Health Programs / trends
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Prevention / economics*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology