Cost-of-illness studies of diabetes mellitus: A systematic review

Charmaine S. Ng, Joyce Y.C. Lee, Matthias P.H.S. Toh, Yu Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is recognised as a major health problem. Objectives: The aims of this study are two-fold: (1) to describe the methods used in the identified cost-of-illness (COI) studies of DM and (2) to summarise their study findings regarding the economic impact of DM. Methods: This is a systematic review of MEDLINE and Scopus journal articles reporting the cost of type 1 and/or 2 DM that were published in English from 2007 to 2011. Costs reported in the included studies were converted to US dollars. Results: The systematic search yielded 30 articles. The studies varied considerably in their study design, perspective and included cost categories. Estimates for the total annual costs of DM ranged from US$141.6 million to US$174 billion; direct costs ranged from US$150 to US$14,060 per patient per year (pppy) whereas indirect costs ranged from US$39.6 to US$7,164 pppy. Inpatient cost was the major contributor to direct cost in half of the studies that included inpatient costs, physician services and medications. Conclusion: There is a considerable economic burden associated with DM. Future research should focus on improving methods of estimating costs, enhancing the interpretation of study findings and facilitating comparisons between studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost analysis
  • Cost of disease
  • Cost-of-illness
  • Diabetes
  • Economic burden
  • Healthcare costs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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