The latest on the cost of type 1 in Australia

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

In the united quest to improve treatment and find a cure for type 1 diabetes, JDRF has released a report “The Economic Cost of T1D in Australia”.

It outlines that after reimbursements, people with type 1 diabetes and their carers spend an average of $257.60 per month to care for their diabetes. This excludes the cost of using technologies such as continuous glucose monitoring or flash glucose monitoring.

Society and solutions

“Finding solutions to the challenges of T1D benefits not just those living with it and their families, but wider society as well,” the report says.

The National Diabetes Services Scheme register records there are about 127,000 Australians living with type 1 diabetes.

Impact on individuals and families

“Around 3,000 new cases of T1D are diagnosed each year, mostly in children, making T1D one of the most serious and common chronic diseases of childhood. The impact of T1D on individuals’ and families’ lives is extensive,” the report says.

About 40% of individuals with type 1 have developed complications such as a blindness, amputation, neuropathy or cardiovascular disease as a result of having type 1 diabetes.

Costs driven up by complications

An excerpt from the report says that in 2020, T1D cost $2.9 billion through healthcare costs, reduced wellbeing, lower employment and additional care. This equates to $51 billion over the life of the individuals who currently have T1D. The majority of this cost is driven by complications.

The average annual cost of T1D for individuals with no complications is about $9,000. This annual cost increases to approximately $32,000 should the individual develop a severe type 1 diabetes-related complication, such as blindness or chronic kidney disease.

Deserves greater recognition

“This cost can increase further should an individual have multiple severe complications. Given current complication prevalence, the average annual cost of T1D is $22,000 per person.”

JDRF CEO Mike Wilson OAM said the report shows that the burden of type 1 diabetes is not just carried by the type 1 diabetes community.

“Increased incidence produces a significant financial cost also borne by wider society, making it incumbent on us all not to think of T1D as solely an issue for those living with T1D,” Mr Wilson said.

“A disease growing at this rate, with such a significant proportion being younger Australians, deserves greater recognition, understanding, and investment. Finding solutions to the challenges of T1D benefits not just those living with it and their families, but wider society as well.”

‘No them or us’

Diabetes NSW & ACT CEO Sturt Eastwood congratulated JDRF on compiling the report, including its incidence, impact and cost.

“If it takes a village to raise a child, it will take the efforts of all diabetes charities to keep presenting evidence to raise funds to find a cure for type 1,” said Mr Eastwood, who lives with type 1 diabetes.

“There is no ‘them’ or ‘us’ when it comes to type 1. We’re working for the same common ambitions: a cure for diabetes and subsidized access to the latest technology for everyone who wants to use it.”

The bottom line

The JDRF report says: “The bottom line: increasing access to technology will improve health outcomes and reduce the financial burden of T1D in Australia. As a society, we owe it not only to these patients but to ourselves to find ways to increase access to this technology.”

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