Diabetes - Why Don't We Cure It?

03/09/2015 09:20

by Wayne Flaherty

Diabetes is a global epidemic. Since the turn of the new millennium, the number of people with the condition has doubled. More than 230 million people worldwide are living with diabetes. Within 20 years, this number is expected to rise to a staggering 350 million. Currently, 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. Diabetes treatments cost Americans  $132 billion per year. Diabetes drugs cost Americans $66 billion/year. The average diabetes patient spends $6,000 per year fighting the disease. While American pharma spends $176 billion per year on diabetes research, it appears that most of that money is spent on treating diabetes rather than finding a cure.

Type II diabetes is the most common form of the disease. People who have type 2 diabetes usually have a pancreas that can produce enough insulin, but for some unknown reasons, according to the NIH, the body cannot use the insulin effectively,  a condition called insulin resistance.  After several years of this, the body's insulin production decreases. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body no longer uses insulin effectively (insulin resistance) or doesn't produce enough insulin to meet the body's needs. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations other than those caused by injury, and new cases of blindness among adults.  About 80%  of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, according to the National Institutes of Health. Today, it is estimated that we (children and adults) consume around 1/4 to 1/2 pound of sugar each and every day for a total of around 90 to 180 pounds of sugar going into our bodies every year.

The incidence of diabetes has ballooned - there are 1 million new cases a year - as more Americans become overweight or obese, according to a study released by the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes killed more than 284,000 Americans last year. Diabetes was the seventh-leading cause of death in 2007. Diabetes afflicts more than 22 million Americans, or 7% of the total population. At a cost of $245 billion in 2012, the disease's toll on the economy has increased by more than 40% since 2007. A new study from UnitedHealth Insurance Company has projected diabetes will cost $500 billion by 2020. That's a tenth of all health care spending - $3.4 trillion in total costs over the next 10 years. Joel Hay, an economist at the University of Southern California predicts that, "Alzheimer's and diabetes, if nothing changes, will bankrupt our society."


There are many publications dedicated to diabetes as well as many studies of the various aspects of diabetes. Few, if any, are dedicated to finding a cure. The profit is in treating diabetes, not curing it. The profit numbers are staggering. If there are 325 million Americans and 10% of them have diabetes, that means 32.5 million customers for continuing treatment. If each diabetic spends $6,000 per year trying to control their diabetes, the total amount of money going into the treasuries of big pharmaceutical companies is almost $200 trillion each and every year. Even a nominally expensive diabetes cure would deprive big pharma of billions of dollars in profit each year.


The 10 Most Common Health Diseases (Last Updated: Jun 26, 2010) vary depending on where you live in the world. Many diseases still common in impoverished areas do not exist in developed countries. The most common diseases in the United States account for 7 out of 10 deaths each year, with about 133 million people suffering at least one chronic illness.
   1. Common Cold -  a viral infection of the upper respiratory system.
   2. Anemia - a decreased level of healthy red blood cells.
   3. Hepatitis B - a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus.
   4. Periodontal disease - gums bleed easily.
   5. Lung cancer - the most common cause of cancer death in men and women.
   6. Diarrhea  - loose, watery stools and cramping.
   7. Strep throat - group A streptococcus - fever, swollen tonsils and stomach pain.
   8. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) - gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and genital herpes.
   9. Heart disease - heart attack, valve disorders, rhythm irregularities and infections.
  10. Type 2 diabetes - blood glucose is too high.

The 10 Most Commonly Expensive events or conditions  are as follows:

   1. HIV $25,000
   2. Cancer $49,000
   3. Transplant $51,00
   4. Stroke $61,000
   5. Hemophilia $62,000
   6. Heart Attack - Cardiac Revascularization (Angioplasty) $72,000.
   7. Coronary Artery Disease $75,000
   8. Neonate (premature baby) with extreme problems $101,000
   9. End-Stage Renal Disease $173,000
 10. Respiratory Failure on Ventilator $314,000