11 August 2010
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India
Most Patients Dip Into Savings, Take Loans: Study
The study, The Socio-Economics of Diabetes from a Developing Country: A Population-based Cost of Illness Study, by the MV Hospital for Diabetes and Diabetes Research Centre in Chennai, says the next common method of payment was by selling, mortgaging immovable assets or taking loans with interest rates as high as 39%. The situation is especially grim for those patients whose monthly income is Rs 10,000 or less. Around 60% of them borrow, mortgage or sell their property just to keep their blood sugar level under control. While among the rest, around 27% have no option but to finance their treatment by dipping into their savings.
Among those with a monthly income between Rs 10,000 and Rs 30,000, 72% pay from their savings, and 11.7% take loans.
Published in the Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, the official journal of the Internal Diabetes Federation (IDF), the study reveals that 81% of the higher income group pay medical bills from personal savings. Health insurance coverage was observed only among the high income group and the figure stood at only 2%. With a sample size of 4,677 – of which 1,050 had diabetes (718 participated in the survey) – the study makes an in-depth finding into the financial burden.
On an average, a diabetic in India spends Rs 25,931 annually on diagnosis and treatment of the ailment. It includes costs for routine lab investigations, physicians, ambulances, medication and transport.
The patient also spends nearly Rs 5,000 as indirect cost annually in the form of lost mandays while making rounds of hospitals.
Extrapolating the figures, the study claims that the nation will spend a whopping $31.9 billion this year on diabetes care. "Keeping the diabetes explosion in the future in mind, this heavy economic burden highlights the urgent need for the decision makers to allocate resources for planning and implementing strategies in prevention and management of diabetes," the finding says.
According to IDF, an estimated 50.8 million will be hit by diabetes in 2010 in India. Global projections for 2025 have estimated a 170% rise in patients and India India figures prominently on the map.