Diabetes cost in Singapore was already more than $1 billion in 2010.

This figure is expected to soar beyond $2.5 billion by 2050, said a team of academics from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the University of Southern California (USC). They published the first-ever article to predict the cost of this “disease” to Singapore. In the article, which was published on February 16, 2016 in Europe’s BMC Public Health journal, the authors said that 42% of the cost comes from medical treatment directly while the rest is due to indirect productivity-related losses.

According to the Singapore Ministry of Health, already 11.3% of adults between 18 -69 years were diabetic in 2010; with about half not even aware they had the disease. Uncontrolled diabetes is a major cause of kidney failure, blindness and amputations in Singapore. It is also a major contributor to heart attacks and stroke.

The authors estimated that the cost per working-age person as a result of having diabetes was already $7,678 in 2010. They predict it would go even further up to $10,596 per diabetic person by 2050. In Asia diabetes is currently hitting more and more people at younger ages, with Singapore being no exception.

The study also said that fatality among people in the age from 20-39 years will be the most influential on the total cost per patient in 2050.

Due to a strong Westernization of their diets Asians are currently more at risk of getting diabetes than people of other races. Parallel to the rates of diabetes, the rates of obesity in Asia are also sharply rising for the same reason. The article said that these factors will have strong implications for Singapore’s overall economic growth and employment situation.  In 2010, the cost of diabetes was already equal to 0.35% of Singapore’s GDP – or almost 10% of the countries healthcare spending.  Even in a quit conservative scenario, diabetes will impose a significant economic burden on Singapore’s healthcare system and will continue to do so the coming decades.

The team will continue its research to make its cost estimation from diabetes more accurate, which will help governments to determine the effectiveness of public health interventions to slow the rise of diabetes. Preventing diabetes is not only an important issue for the healthcare sector, but also for employers as diabetes has a significant negative impact on their employee’s productivity!


Read the resarch study on BioMed Central