Diabetes describes a group of metabolic diseases which cause high blood sugar levels. In recent years, diabetes has become one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, around 1.5 million people worldwide died due to diabetes in 2012. It is estimated that 380 million people are living with diabetes all over the world. By 2040, projections show this number rising to some 642 million diabetics globally. This means that one out of ten adults will have diabetes.
Interestingly, countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes can be found primarily on islands in the Pacific and in the Middle East. For example, on Tokelau almost every third adult has diabetes, while almost a quarter of all adults in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait suffer from this disease. In comparison, diabetes prevalence in OECD countries remains much lower. However, the United States reports figures significantly above average for OECD countries with a prevalence of nearly 13 percent.
Around 22 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes, with the real number estimated to be even higher. In the U.S., a disproportionately large number of people in the Southern states suffer from diabetes. From an ethnic view, non-Hispanic blacks have the highest prevalence in the United States. It is predicted that diabetes induced health care costs will total around 3.3 trillion U.S. dollars between 2011 and 2020.
Worldwide, health care expenditure to treat diabetes was estimated at almost a trillion U.S. dollars in 2015. Thus, diabetes treatment is also a huge pharmaceutical submarket. In 2015, global anti-diabetics revenues totaled to 71.5 billion U.S. dollars. This figure put anti-diabetics among the top three therapy classes. Novo Nordisk is the leading pharmaceutical company based on global anti-diabetic revenue. The Danish company is highly concentrated on the manufacturing of drugs for diabetes treatment.
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