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Natl Med J India. 2016 Mar-Apr;29(2):64-7.

High direct costs of medical care in patients with Type 1 diabetes attending a referral clinic in a government-funded hospital in Northern India.

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Department of Endocrinology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow 226014, Uttar Pradesh, India.



There is little information regarding costs of managing type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) from low- and middle-income countries. We estimated direct costs of T1DM in patients attending a referral diabetes clinic in a governmentfunded hospital in northern India.


We prospectively enrolled 88 consecutive T1DM patients (mean [SD] age 15.3 [8] years) with age at onset <18 years presenting to the endocrine clinic of our institution. Data on direct costs were collected for a 12 months-6 months retrospectively followed by 6 months prospectively.


Patients belonged predominantly (77%) to the middle socioeconomic strata (SES); 81% had no access to government subsidy or health insurance. The mean direct cost per patient-year of T1DM was `27 915 (inter-quartile range [IQR] `19 852-32 856), which was 18.6% (7.1%-30.1%) of the total family income. A greater proportion of income was spent by families of lower compared to middle SES (32.6% v. 6.6%, p<0.001). The mean out-of-pocket payment for diabetes care ranged from 2% to 100% (mean 87%) of the total costs. The largest expenditure was on home blood glucose monitoring (40%) and insulin (39.5%). On multivariate analysis, total direct cost was associated with annual family income (β=0.223, p=0.033), frequency of home blood glucose monitoring (β=0.249, p=0.016) and use of analogue insulin (β=0.225, p=0.016).


Direct costs of T1DM were high; in proportion to their income the costs were greater in the lower SES. The largest expenditure was on home blood glucose monitoring and insulin. Support for insulin and glucose testing strips for T1DM care is urgently required.

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