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Monday 15 March 2021 2:38pm

A report into the cost of type 2 diabetes for Aotearoa New Zealand has been commissioned by the University of Otago's Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre (EDOR), along with the Healthier Lives - He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge, Diabetes New Zealand, and Tony & Heather Falkenstein (philanthropists). The analysis for the report was undertaken by PwC.

The Economic and Social Cost of Type 2 Diabetes report was launched in Parliament by the Associate Minister of Health (Māori) Hon Peeni Henare on Monday 15 March. Minister Henare's portfolio has a special responsibility for diabetes and he was joined at the launch by the Hon Aupito William Sio, Associate Minister for Health (Pacific Peoples).

EDOR Directors Professors Rachael Taylor and Jim Mann were part of the expert advisory group to PwC New Zealand, who undertook the analysis for this report.  Professor Mann outlined the key aspects of the report at the Parliamentary launch, including the huge burden this disease places on New Zealanders:

“We've known for a long time that type 2 diabetes is an important and worrying issue in our communities, but we now know that its impact on New Zealand can be measured as a fraction of GDP: the $2.1b annual cost is equivalent to 0.67% of GDP. That's just for this one disease and is in purely financial terms, let alone the human cost to individuals and their families/whānau."

The report found that Pacific, Asian and Māori peoples are disproportionately affected by this disease and there is an urgent need to address these health inequities.

While prevention is the key to tackling this disease, through Government public health prevention measures, the report focused on what is cost-effective for treating those who already have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

The team undertook cost-benefit analyses on each of four interventions, which are predicted to save hundreds of millions of dollars and improve the lives of thousands of people affected by this disease:

  1. Healthy People, Healthy Lives intervention – community-centred lifestyle programme for preventing prediabetes progressing to type 2 diabetes;
  2. Owning our Futures – reversal of type 2 diabetes;
  3. Better Diabetes Medications intervention – better management of type 2 diabetes;
  4. Foot Screening and Protection – prevention of serious foot-related complications, such as amputation, for people with type 2 diabetes.

The report shows significant cost savings could be gained from all four interventions, driven primarily by reducing health costs and increasing economic value through increasing life expectancy and productivity.

The sponsors of the study are calling on the New Zealand Government to take urgent action now, to slow the current and predicted trajectory of type 2 diabetes in New Zealand.

Read the report

The Economic and Social Cost of Type 2 Diabetes - executive summary , 16 pages (PDF, 1.4MB)

The Economic and Social Cost of Type 2 Diabetes - full report, 147 pages (PDF, 8MB)

Read EDOR's recent diabetes news stories

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