Tuesday, July 03, 2007

World Waking up to Diabetes Crisis

According to an article in the UK's Telegraph, diabetes is expected to soar in developing countries over next 20 years.

There are the obvious opportunities for the insulin producers, but as diabetes can lead to blindness, heart disease, strokes and amputations, a wider group of drug makers could be involved.

Diabetes will this year kill as many people around the world as Aids, prompting scientists to call the fast-growing disease the greatest epidemic of current times.

Signs that developing countries are preparing to put some of their stretched budgets into fighting diabetes is not just good news for their people. It could create an opportunity for the drug industry. Not only will there be a large growth of diabetes sufferers in rich countries, where patients can afford the latest treatments, but the explosion of diabetes in poor countries creates an opportunity for Big Pharma to enter new markets where prices are low but volumes large.

Lars Rebien Sorensen, chief executive of Novo Nordisk, the world's largest maker of insulin, said: "Diabetes is growing fastest in Africa, Asia and Latin America. "At the same time we are seeing pressure on the US healthcare system, where there could be price controls. That is going to put pressure on global growth."

There are also opportunities to develop low-cost blood sugar monitors and even solar-powered fridges to store insulin.

The world is on the cusp of recognising the crisis and funds such as the foundation set up by former US President Bill Clinton are beginning to show an interest in creating a global fund to pay for diabetes medicines, in the same way that a fund was established for malaria, tuberculosis and Aids medicines.

One of the world's most eminent scientists working on diabetes, Paul Zimmet of Australia, told the gathering in Nairobi: "There are competing conflicts - HIV, malaria, earthquakes, Sars, climate change and water shortages. But diabetes is one of the greatest epidemics in world history."

If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you may be able to get your meter and testing supplies for free. Medicare and most private insurance companies pay for these products. For more information, please visit http://www.freedomed.com.

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