Diabetes cases hit record and half go undiagnosed

LONDON Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:31pm IST

Related Topics

Stocks

   
Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels as they rehearse for the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

"Beating The Retreat" Rehearsals

Rehearsals are on for "Beating the Retreat" ceremony which symbolises retreat after a day on the battlefield, and marks the official end of the Republic Day celebrations.  Slideshow 

LONDON (Reuters) - Diabetes is running at record levels worldwide and half the people estimated to have the disease are, as yet, undiagnosed, according to a report on Wednesday.

The number of people living with diabetes is now put at 371 million, up from 366 million a year ago, with numbers expected to reach 552 million by 2030, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) said.

Diabetes is often viewed as a western problem, since the vast majority of people have type 2 disease which is linked to obesity and lack of exercise.

But the disease is also spreading rapidly in poorer countries, alongside urbanization, and four out of five diabetics now live in low and middle-income countries, opening up new opportunities and challenges for the drug industry.

China alone has 92.3 million people with diabetes, more than any other nation in the world, and the hidden burden is also enormous in sub-Saharan Africa where limited healthcare means less than a fifth of cases get diagnosed.

The IDF estimates that, globally, 187 million people do not yet know they are suffering from the condition.

Diabetics have inadequate blood sugar control which can lead to serious complications, including nerve and kidney damage and blindness. Worldwide deaths from the disease are running at 4.8 million a year.

The disease is one of a number of chronic conditions - along with cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases - that healthcare campaigners want included in the next set of global development goals, which will replace outgoing Millennium Developments Goals in 2015.

For the international drugmakers, diabetes offers riches, with global sales of diabetes medicines expected to reach $48-$53 billion by 2016, up from $39.2 billion in 2011, according to research firm IMS Health.

CHINA TO AFRICA

Tapping into the potential of increased demand in emerging markets, however, requires a twin-track approach from drug companies which have traditionally focused on pricey new therapies for rich-world markets.

These days, there is a lot more focus on high-volume but lower-margin business in developing economies, many of which are predicted to show high double-digit percentage sales growth for diabetes medicines for years to come.

The shift is already yielding results.

China, for example, is now the second-largest market behind the United States for the world's biggest maker of insulin - Danish group Novo Nordisk. It is also a major focus for rivals such as Eli Lilly, Merck & Co, and Sanofi.

Poorer countries are more difficult, especially when it comes to insulin, which must be kept cool if it is not to deteriorate. While most patients start on cheap generic diabetes pills, such as metformin, many need insulin as their disease progresses.

Still, Novo Nordisk thinks it has cracked part of the problem in Kenya, where a project using churches and other local groups has reduced the number of middlemen in the supply chain and cut the cost of a month's supply of insulin to around 500 Kenyan shillings ($6).

So far, the project only covers around 1,000 Kenyans but Jesper Hoiland, Novo's head of international operations, is confident his company's low-price model will become profitable as it increases in scale. "It will take three to five years to get to breakeven," he said in an interview.

In the meantime, similar pilot schemes are being tested in rural India and Nigeria.

Other major drugmakers like Sanofi, which has a significant presence in Africa, are also adopting "tiered" or differential pricing to open up developing world markets.

(Editing by Dan Lalor)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Ebola Outbreak

Reuters Showcase

Record Earnings

Record Earnings

Apple iPhone sales trample expectations as profit sets global record  Full Article 

Motor Racing

Motor Racing

Force India to miss Jerez F1 test  Full Article 

'Umrika' At Sundance

'Umrika' At Sundance

From Oscars to Sundance, Sharma and Revolori discuss India's 'Umrika'  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Djokovic, Wawrinka set up epic showdown, ill Serena through  Full Article 

India's Male Tenor

India's Male Tenor

India's lone male tenor aims to sing opera in local key  Full Article 

Hostage Case

Hostage Case

Jordan proposes prisoner swap, fate of Japanese IS hostage unclear  Full Article 

U.S. Blizzard

U.S. Blizzard

Blizzard hits Boston and New England, spares New York despite forecasts.  Full Article 

Spying Row

Spying Row

Spying program leaked by Snowden is tied to campaign in many countries.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage