Together with cardiovascular diseases, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes is one of the world’s four major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), presenting a major threat to global health.
IFPMA member companies and associations endorse the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and are committed to reducing the global burden of NCDs. Working towards Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, as well as the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan on NCDs, our sector outlines the steps it is taking to address the rise of NCDs in the developing world in its “Framework for Action for the Prevention and Control of NCDs”, which focuses on the areas where we can make the most significant difference, such as innovation, availability, patient empowerment and capacity building. The research-based pharmaceutical industry is actively engaged in numerous initiatives for the prevention, timely testing and diagnosis, access to medicines, and management of patients on a course of treatment for diabetes.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are 387 million people living with diabetes today, and an expected increase of 205 million additional cases by 2035 if appropriate action is not taken. An added complication, nearly 1 in 2 people that have diabetes are undiagnosed, and in many cases, unaware they have the disease. Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with long-term complications resulting in a high cost to patients, the health care system and the economy in affected countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that over 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Due to low public awareness levels, a lack of trained healthcare practitioners and insufficient access to treatments, many cases of diabetes go undiagnosed and poorly managed, resulting in long term damages such as blindness, amputation, cardiovascular diseases and kidney failure. Furthermore, people who have weak or compromised immune systems as a result of diabetes are left at three times higher risk of developing tuberculosis, posing a major challenge to the health systems of middle income countries where the burden is greatest.
To make concrete steps towards improving the prevention and treatment of the disease in all countries, but with particular focus in LMICs, the WHO in 2013 committed to a 25% reduction in death from NCDs by 2025.
Doing our part – partnerships that improve access to diabetes care and work to reduce the global burden of the disease
IFPMA as well as its member companies and associations support a variety of initiatives to reduce the global incidence of diabetes and other chronic diseases worldwide, through innovation and partnerships.
New medicines to treat diabetes are crucial to managing the disease and providing patients with the best quality of life possible. There are over 200 products for diabetes currently being developed by the IFPMA member companies. These include a once-a-week medicine that acts as a natural hormone to control blood sugar levels, and a another medicine that addresses the underlying cause of type 2 diabetes by modulating genes responsible for insulin sensitization.
Helping people lead healthy lifestyles is also a means to reversing the trend of the diabetes epidemic (type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% diabetes worldwide and largely preventable through healthy diet and regular physical activity). As an association, IFPMA works with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the promotion of 4 Healthy Habits (healthy eating, moderate consumption of alcohol, physical activity and not smoking) all across the world. It also supports the use of new technologies in promoting healthy behaviors, such as SMS notifications as part of the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) Be He@lthy, Be Mobile partnership, and the mobile app Healhty Score, an easy-to-use, practical guide to help individuals and their health professionals reduce the risks of NCDs.
IFPMA’s member companies are also engaged in going beyond medicines to tackle diabetes, with over 40 partnerships on disease awareness and prevention, treatment and diagnosis. These programs include activities to raise awareness of diabetes in schools so that children with diabetes are better taken care of by their teachers; training of healthcare workers in caring for diabetes on a wide-scale, or for specific groups such as women with gestational diabetes; differential pricing in low and middle income countries to widen the availability of treatments; helping governments better understand diabetes disease management, and preventing diabetes amputations through early intervention strategies.
Finally, IFPMA members are engaged in “wellness programs at work” contributing to employees’ well-being by transforming the workplace into platforms for healthy living with on-site gyms, health education and medical checkups, and healthy cafeterias.
You can learn more about these programs and many others by following the link “Diabetes” under Partnership Information to the right.
More information can be found here:
Diabetic Emergency: What does it look like? (4 Healthy Habits infographic)
International Diabetes Federation (website)
World Diabetes Day (website)