Diabetes makes up a quarter of Turkey's healthcare expenditure with the Social Security Institution (SGK) paying some TL 10 billion ($3.2 billion) every year to cover the expenses of patients with diabetes. The figure is the equivalent of roughly 23 percent of the total healthcare costs covered by the SGK.
Diabetes already costs $612 billion to the healthcare sector annually, according to 2014 data provided by the International Diabetes Federation.
Mike Doustdar, a senior executive from Novo Nordisk, a multinational pharmaceutical company specializing in diabetes, says the total cost of diabetes for Turkey has increased 18 percent since 2008 and the direct cost of diabetes drugs to the SGK reached about TL 2.4 billion in 2012. "SGK figures show that the expenditure spent for the treatment of diabetes-related complications was three times higher than the expenditure spent for the treatment of diabetes. Doustdar says Turkey can save up to 24 billion euros by decreasing the prevalence of diabetes to an acceptable level in the next two decades." He said that the disease affects millions in the world and contributes to the risk of development of more serious complications, imposing a great burden on healthcare expenditures. He said an increase in average life expectancy also helped a boost in spending for the treatment of diabetes. "If complications can be prevented, it would help to decrease spending, so, early diagnosis and treatment is of importance," he says. Doustdar says insufficient or poor treatment leads to a rapid growth of diabetes that eventually leads to sight problems, cardiovascular diseases and other ailments that also indirectly helps an economic loss in terms of the workforce.
Diabetes affects about 7.5 million people in Turkey and the prevalence of diabetes is at an alarming level according to Health Ministry officials. The Health Ministry had introduced a plan to fight diabetes in 2003 and launched an awareness campaign into the disease. The ministry also spearheads a campaign against a sedentary lifestyle by promoting exercise and healthy eating. The country aims to step up efforts for early diagnosis and plans for better access to exercise activities and diets for people already suffering from diabetes.
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