The value of a patient with diabetes


Why serving patients with diabetes is good business

In brief:

  • The magnitude of the diabetes epidemic in the U.S. is staggering
  • Patients with diabetes spend more than $6,000 per year on average on medications and supplies
  • Patients with diabetes spend far more per year than patients without diabetes
  • A patient with diabetes may be worth > $30,000 to your pharmacy over the next 5 years

Staggering national diabetes statistics

The statistics about the magnitude of the diabetes epidemic in the United States are staggering.

National diabetes statistics

  • 30+ million people have diabetes (9.4% of the population)1
  • 84+ million have pre-diabetes2
  • Diabetes costs America $327 billion per year3
  • Approximately 20% of healthcare dollars go to treating people with diabetes4

All of these numbers are rising, as the number of people with diabetes and pre-diabetes and the costs of caring for these individuals are increasing each year.

Statistics for an INDIVIDUAL5

The national numbers are so large, they can be overwhelming. It can be helpful to look at data on a per capita basis for an individual with diabetes.

  • In total, medical costs for a person with diabetes are $16,752 per year.
  • 38% of costs per patient ($6,325) are for outpatient medications and supplies.
  • Medical costs are 2.3 times higher for a person with diabetes vs. a person without diabetes.

Per capita expenditures on outpatient medications and supplies for someone with diabetes are 5.7 times higher than for someone without diabetes.

Per patient expenditures on outpatient medications and supplies
With diabetesWithout diabetesDifference
Diabetes supplies$151NA$151
Other anti-diabetes agents$652NA$652
Prescription medications$4,741$1,029$3,712
Other equipment and supplies$185$82$103
Total outpatient medications and supplies$6,335$1,111$5,224

What it means for YOUR PHARMACY

In looking at the national and individual statistics, here are takeaways for your pharmacy:

  • The overall opportunity to serve patients with diabetes is large and growing.
  • On average, patients with diabetes spend $6,325 yearly on medications and supplies.
  • This is $5,000 more (and five times more) than patients without diabetes.
  • In addition to needing insulin, diabetes supplies and anti-diabetes agents, patients with diabetes spend far more on other prescription medications than patients without diabetes.
  • Patients with diabetes visit pharmacies more frequently than patients without diabetes.

This data shows why patients with diabetes are an incredibly important target for your pharmacy.

Over the next five years, providing the majority of medications and supplies to a patient with diabetes could be worth $30,000 in revenue to your pharmacy.

The value of just one patient with diabetes is why it is so important for your pharmacy to be the diabetes experts in your community. This means offering products and services that patients need, having diabetes-focused programs and marketing, and having staff members who are diabetes experts.

When developing your plans and priorities, keep in mind the size of the diabetes opportunity to your pharmacy and the value of a patient with diabetes.

The information provided here is for reference use only and does not constitute the rendering of clinical, legal or other professional advice by McKesson. Results will depend on the factors of a pharmacy’s business. Readers should consult appropriate professionals for advice and assistance prior to making important decisions regarding their business.

1 National Diabetes Statistics Report, CDC.
2 Ibid.
3 American Diabetes Association, Statistics about Diabetes.
4 The 5 Cost Drivers of Diabetes Care, Optum.
5 Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017, Diabetes Care, Volume 41, May 2018.