Diabetes in China - statistics & facts

More and more people are suffering from diabetes in China. The world’s most populous country has the highest number of diabetics compared to any other country globally – about 116 million in 2019. By 2045, this number is anticipated to reach 147 million. Health experts believe that the major causes of this surge are urbanization and rising living standards coupled with an aging population. The diabetes care market in China is thus expected to grow steadily in the next few years.

What is diabetes and how is it in China?

Diabetes is a long-term disease that occurs either when the pancreas cannot produce any or enough insulin, or when the body cannot properly use the insulin it produces. The main categories of diabetes include type 1, type 2 (the most common type), and gestational diabetes. Many early signs and symptoms of diabetes can be subtle and easy to miss. In China, about two-thirds of the diabetic patients were not aware of the condition and did not take control measures. Untreated diabetes can result in serious health complications, such as cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and stroke.

What are the most common diabetes drugs?

An uninterrupted supply of insulin is especially critical for all type 1 diabetes patients and some people with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes. The 20-billion-yuan worth business of human insulin and its analogues in China is dominated by the global insulin leader Novo Nordisk. On the other side, oral hypoglycemic drugs held the largest share of diabetic medication market, with acarbose and metformin leading the sales revenue. Apart from insulin and oral hypoglycemic drugs, glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) is another type of diabetes medication which was projected to take up 21 percent of the market share by 2030.

How is the Chinese SMBG market?

Diabetes patients should measure their blood glucose levels frequently throughout the day with a glucometer. In China, the self-monitoring of blood glucose (SBMG) market is developing slowly, partly due to a low glucometer penetration rate. Foreign manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Roche are at the forefront of this race, while domestic brands like Sinocare and Abbott are gaining traction. The SMBG sector consists of two segments: disposable consumables (lancet and test strips) and glucometer devices. By 2020, the market size of blood glucose test strips was estimated to surpass eight billion yuan while that of glucometer devices would reach about 4.6 billion yuan.

What is coming down the pike?

Healthcare is high on the Chinese government’s agenda. In 2016, Beijing unveiled the “Healthy China 2030” blueprint, highlighting the goals of increasing the standard management rate of diabetes to above 70 percent by 2030. Besides this, digital healthcare solutions and novel devices are expected to bring the diabetes care market in China to the next level.

Interesting statistics

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Diabetes in China

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Important key figures

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Diabetes demographics

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