News Release

Chinese health insurance achieves success decreasing diabetes medication usage, costs

Changes in direct medical cost and medications for diabetes in Beijing, China, from 2016 to 2018: Electronic insurance data analysis

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Academy of Family Physicians

Approximately 642 million people are expected to be diagnosed with diabetes by 2040, with Asians representing more than 55% of cases. Researchers conducted the first large-scale study since the implementation of medical insurance in China to evaluate the complexity and cost of drug therapy for Asian people with diabetes. They used available treatment records from Beijing's medical insurance bureau from 2016 to 2018 and looked at five outcomes, including: 1) quantity of outpatient medications, 2) number of co-morbidities diagnosed, 3) estimated annual cost of the outpatient drug regimen, 4) drug therapy strategies for diabetic patients and 5) the most commonly prescribed drug class in the patient cohort. They found that over three years, there was a gradual decrease of almost 9% decrease in the average quantity of diabetes medications. The mean usage of both anti-glycemic and non-antiglycemic drugs decreased by 3.6% and 12.8%, respectively. Researchers found an 18.39% decrease in estimated annual medication costs. The decrease in medical costs could be due to rational use of medications, leading to a decrease in the usage of medications over the three years. This is especially true for what the authors call the needless use of most types of insulin. This could have indirectly led to decreased costs. China's health insurance appears to have achieved "remarkable" success. The study authors advise that therapeutic drugs should be selected with caution according to the diet and lifestyle of each individual.


Changes in Direct Medical Cost and Medications for Managing Diabetes in Beijing, China, from 2016 to 2018: Electronic Insurance Data Analysis

Lixin Guo, MD, et al

Department of Endocrinology, Beijing Hospital, National Center of Gerontology, Institute of Geriatric Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, PR China

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