Staggering cost of diabetes in Alberta
A new study reveals it costs more than a $1 billion a year to treat patients with diabetes in Alberta.
"The economic burden of diabetes in Alberta is staggering and threatens the sustainability of our health care system and the provincial economy," said Michael Cloutier, president and CEO, Canadian Diabetes Association.
The Canadian Diabetes Association believes the current cost to the province of $1.1 billion per year will increase to $1.6 billion per year by 2020.
And part of the reason for that is because diagnosis is set to increase also.
The Canadian Diabetes Association says it will jump 67 per cent in Alberta, which will be the highest increase in the county.
Experts say while the government has made progress on the issue, it still needs to help speed up access to better medications, devices and supplies to prevent expensive complications to patients and the system.
"There are still some people who aren't getting access, there are still some medications that still aren't covered," said Cloutier.
The health minister calls the figures alarming and reason enough for the province to act. Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky met on Tuesday with diabetes officials assuring them that staff are working to provide new medications.
"Generally, we add about 10 or 12 new drugs to the formula every month, which is quite significant. Some of those might end up being some of the prescriptive drugs that diabetics need," he said.
Murray Davison suffers from Type 2 diabetes and says initially it was quite a struggle.
"The different foods you can eat, the testing of your blood, always trying to maintain the different levels that you want. It was difficult for me," he said.
Davison is behind the government stepping in to help. He believes in the long-term it will save the province some money.
"It's going to save them money and it's going to make it a healthier place for us to work and live and survive in Alberta."
This marks the third provincial cost analysis completed this year. Experts believe part of the reason why Alberta's numbers are rising so sharply is because of unhealthy lifestyles, as well as changing demographics.
With files from Scott Roberts