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Medical costs for youth with diabetes more than $9,000 a year

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Wednesday, young people with diabetes face substantially higher medical costs than children and teens without the disease. The study found annual medical expenses for youth with diabetes were $9,061, compared with $1,468 for youth without the disease.

Much of the extra medical costs come from prescription drugs and outpatient care, the CDC found. Young people with the highest medical costs were treated with insulin, and included all those with Type 1 diabetes and some with Type 2 diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin and must receive insulin treatment. Some people with Type 2 diabetes also are treated with insulin, because their bodies do not produce enough to control blood glucose, or sugar.

Children and adolescents who received insulin treatment had annual medical costs of $9,333, compared with $5,683 for those who did not receive insulin but did take oral medications to control blood glucose.

"Young people with diabetes face medical costs that are six times higher than their peers without diabetes," said Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s division of diabetes translation. "Most youth with diabetes need insulin to survive, and the medical costs for young people on insulin were almost 65% higher than for those who did not require insulin to treat their diabetes."

The study examined medical costs for children and teens ages 19 years or younger who were covered by employer-sponsored private health insurance plans in 2007, using the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database. The estimates were based on administrative claim data from nearly 50,000 youth, including 8,226 with diabetes.

Medical costs for people with diabetes, the vast majority of whom are adults, are 2.3 times higher than costs for those without diabetes, according to the CDC’s National Diabetes "Fact Sheet 2011." The CDC study will be published in the May issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

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CVS Caremark’s Charitable Trust donates funds to tornado relief efforts

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark’s Charitable Trust, the private foundation managed by CVS Caremark, has donated $75,000 to the American Red Cross in support of relief efforts in Alabama for communities impacted by tornadoes earlier this week.

In addition, CVS/pharmacy locations in Tuscaloosa, Pleasant Grove, Cullman and Cahaba Heights, Ala., will distribute $130,000 in free water, ice and other supplies on Friday to residents of these communities. In Tuscaloosa, which experienced some of the worst tornado damage, CVS/pharmacy is bringing in a mobile pharmacy trailer to help ensure that residents continue to have access to their prescribed medications.

"We have 150 stores in Alabama and more than 700 locations across the South, and we are concerned about the impact these tornadoes have had on our customers, employees and communities," stated Eileen Howard Boone, SVP corporate communications and community relations at CVS Caremark. "We hope our Charitable Trust’s donation to the American Red Cross and our store product donations to the community will provide some relief and benefit the recovery efforts under way in the region."

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OTC, vision categories drive Drugstore.com’s Q1

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Drugstore.com on Thursday posted a net sales increase of 16% to $128.4 million for its first quarter ended April 3.

"In the first quarter, we delivered strong over-the-counter and vision [categories] growth of 16% and 17%, respectively," stated Dawn Lepore, Drugstore.com CEO and chairman. "With our continued investment in our marketing initiatives, we acquired approximately 540,000 new customers this quarter, up 13% over the first quarter of 2010.”

Drugstore.com made strategic progress on a number of fronts, Lepore reported, including the implementation of a new site navigation, the launch of three branded sites for Luxottica and the signing of an agreement with GSI Commerce for the company’s West Coast distribution center.

During the quarter, Drugstore.com incurred transaction expenses totaling $2.2 million related to the previously announced merger agreement with Walgreens. That acquisition is expected to close by the end of June. Including these expenses, Drugstore.com reported a net loss of $3.2 million and a net loss per share of 3 cents, compared with a net loss of $2.6 million and a net loss per share of 3 cents reported in the same period of the prior year.

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