Diabetes: The Price of Increasing Prosperity


The incidence of diabetes continues to expand globally. By 2025, diabetes sufferers are expected to compose 7% of the world’s population, and the global cost of diabetes treatment will reach $440 billion.

The rise in diabetes is driven in part by rising affluence. Risk factors for the disease include unhealthy diets that contribute to obesity, the aging of societies around the globe, and sedentary lifestyles; all of these factors are exacerbated by economic development.

The growth of the market for diabetes-related products and services will be driven both by the increasing prevalence of the disease and by development of new offerings.

These are the primary forecasts of Deutsche Bank Research in its publication, Diabetes—the Price of Increasing Prosperity. The report effectively summarizes forecasts for the spread of diabetes through 2025, the growth in associated costs, and the expected changes in the geographic distribution of affected individuals.

It also includes a primer on the disease, which covers the various types of diabetes, the basic medical issues, and the available treatments. The burden diabetes places on the healthcare system is detailed, using Germany as an example. Recent developments in pharmaceutical and medical technology are highlighted using examples.


  • Global incidence of diabetes will grow to 380 million by 2025.
  • Theglobalcostofdiabetes treatment is expected to rise 3.5% per year to $440 billion in the same timeframe.
  • Unhealthy diets, aging societies, and sedentary lifestyles are risk factors for diabetes, and these factors are all correlated with rising affluence in Worlds 1 and 2.


Diabetes is an important chronic disease whose global incidence will grow, driven by unhealthy diets, extended age of the global population, and the rise of sedentary lifestyles. Both the rise in the prevalence of diabetes and the development of new treatment products will drive growth in the market for diabetes-related products.

  • Diabetes will become more prevalent: The World Diabetes Foundation forecasts that between 2007 and 2025, the number of diabetics worldwide will grow by more than 50%, from about 250 million to about 380 million. In addition, more than 400 million persons will exhibit impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), a precursor to type 2 diabetes, for a combined total of almost 800 million affected individuals—about 15% of the global population.
  • From 2007 to 2025 diabetes will grow at an annual rate of about 2.5%: That’s about half the 5.3% annual growth reported between 1997 and 2007. IGT incidence will grow more slowly, at about 1.7% annually. The highest diabetes growth rates will be in Latin America (4% annually), the eastern Mediterranean region, and the Middle East. By 2025, the largest number of diabetics will be in the regions of Asia Pacific (about 100 million) and Southeast Asia. The highest rates of incidence of diabetes will be in the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, and North America (where incidence will reach nearly 10%).
  • The global annual cost of diabetes: This is expected to grow 3.5% per year, from $243 billion in 2007 to $440 billion in 2025.


  • Because economic development and the growth of diabetes are associated, it is possible to anticipate the spread of markets for diabetes-related products and services around the world with some precision.
  • The number of persons at risk for diabetes—but not yet diagnosed—exceeds the number already diagnosed with the disease. Because diet and exercise are effective in preventing or delaying onset, governments and nonprofits could find significant public health leverage in effective screening and prevention programs. For-profit companies could potentially find ways to monetize prevention, e.g., with coordinated diet and exercise plans.
  • Introducing a new delivery method for insulin may be a difficult goal. The cost of development and trials is high, there is a risk of unanticipated side effects, and injectable insulin and insulin analogues are already highly optimized products. Nevertheless, considering the pain and inconvenience of regular insulin injections, it is clear that the value of an oral delivery system would be very large.