Diabetes drug costs have soared in South Essex, following the continued climb of the prevalence of the condition.

According to NHS Digital, Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) spent £3.3m on diabetes medication in 2018-19. With NHS diabetes drug costs increasing to £109 more per person in comparison to five years ago.

That figure works out to be an average of £320 per person, up from £283 in 2013-14.

Overall, it is reported that the NHS now spends almost £1.1 billion on treating diabetes as of 2018-19, a figure that’s grown from £800 million in 2013-14 and will likely continue to grow as it is thought that by 2030, there will be more than 5.5 million people in the UK with diabetes.

With diabetes drug costs spiralling, health experts are looking for alternatives to treating type 2 diabetes, which can be prevented, treated, and put into remission with lifestyle changes in some cases. Lifestyle changes can work out cheaper, as they rely on a change of behaviour in the patient, rather than manufactured drugs to keep their blood sugars in check.

(If you or someone you know has, or is at risk of prediabetes, obesity, or type 2 diabetes, the QISMET-accredited Low Carb Program outlines simple, sustainable changes you can make to your lifestyle to reduce your risk and help to bring blood glucose levels under control.)

Tricia D’Orsi, diabetes lead for the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership, said: “Thanks to better diagnosis and treatment, the NHS is caring for more people than ever before with diabetes.

“Many of the associated prescription costs are due to a sustained and steep surge in the number of people with type 2 diabetes and a reminder of the urgent need to prevent type 2 diabetes from developing in individuals.”

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