One third of diabetes patients miss taking their insulin treatment an average three times a month, according to an international study involving more than 1,500 type 1 and type 2 diabetics. And the situation is even more critical in the UK where one in four fail to take their insulin as prescribed.  

Treatment flexibility is key, say the researchers, who presented findings from the Global Attitudes of Patients and Physicians in Insulin Therapy (GAAP) survey at the American Diabetes Association meeting. “By developing and implementing strategies to minimise patient barriers to insulin adherence or by prescribing insulin regimens that are more flexible and fit more easily into patients’ lifestyles, compliance to treatment could be improved, which may lead to improve clinical outcomes.” 

The findings point to dissatisfaction among patients and doctors alike. Sixty-four percent of patients in the UK would like a treatment regimen that fits better into their daily lives, while 51% of UK physicians say they find the number of injections required every week unsatisfactory. Perhaps more worryingly, almost all UK doctors surveyed say their patients’ blood glucose levels are not reaching targets - 97% versus 88% across all countries. 

Uplift in devices market

Meanwhile the growing prevalence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes is ensuring rapid growth for insulin management systems, says a new report from Frost & Sullivan. The global diabetes therapy and diagnostic market to be worth $41 billion in 2009. Within this the insulin management systems market was valued at $1.01 billion in 2009 and is growing at 12% compound annual growth rate, triggered by advances in continuous glucose monitoring technology and its integration into insulin pumps. 

The World Diabetes Foundation estimates there will be 438 million people with diabetes in 2030. And with an estimated 50% of diabetics as-yet undiagnosed, F&S believes screening and educating the general population to detect and treat diabetes will help companies win greater market share. “Products that enhance quality of life will guarantee strong revenue growth and provide the most value to the patient,” advises analyst Beulah Devadason.