Background: The cost of diabetes mellitus can be defined in both medical and economic terms. Although there is an abundance of literature concerning the medical management of diabetes, few studies have assessed the financial impact of its treatment. This study examined the savings in prescription costs associated with a weight reduction program for obese men and women with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).
Research design and methods: Forty subjects ages 40-70 years who had body mass indexes of 30-40 kg/m2 and NIDDM of more than 1 year duration were assigned to one of two 800-kcal weight-loss programs for 12 weeks. A cost analysis was done on the 32 subjects who were taking anti-hypertensive and/or anti-diabetes medications. A list of medications and monthly amounts was obtained at the start, upon completion, and 1 year following completion of the diet. The average out-of-pocket cost for a month's supply of each prescription was calculated by polling 16 retail pharmacies in Lexington, Kentucky.
Results: Subjects lost an average of 15.3 kg (33.7 lb) over the 12 weeks. At 1-year follow-up, subjects maintained a mean 9.0-kg (19.8 lb) weight loss. The average monthly prediet out-of-pocket cost for anti-hypertensive and anti-diabetes medications and supplies was $63.30 per subject. Following completion of the diet, this cost per month decreased to $20.40 and at 1-year follow-up the average monthly cost per subject was $32.40. The estimated average savings in prescription costs per subject over the year was $442.80.
Conclusions: Significant short- and long-term savings in prescription costs were obtained following a 12-week hypocaloric weight reduction program for obese individuals with NIDDM.