Friday 17 January 2020

Obesity diabetic bill now at €265k each day

Finance Minister Michael Noonan Photo: PA
Finance Minister Michael Noonan Photo: PA

Mark O'Regan

Diabetes drugs are now costing a record €265,000 per day as Ireland grapples with an obesity time bomb.

Experts warn that as more Irish people lose the 'battle of the bulge' they are at increased risk of the disease. It is estimated that about 225,840 sufferers are already living with the condition here.

Now, new figures obtained by the Sunday Independent, show the HSE spent €142m on a range of insulin and anti-diabetic prescriptions, as well as blood glucose and urinalysis test strips, last year.

This represents an increase of €20m in just four years.

It comes as the number of people required to have a lower limb amputated - as a result of diabetic problems - is also on the increase in Ireland.

As a result of diabetic-related foot complications, some 451 people underwent a lower limb amputation in 2015.

This represents a rise on the 2014 figure when 443 people required an amputation.

Furthermore, 1,948 people with the condition required hospital in-patient treatment for foot ulcers last year, spending an average of 14.5 days in care.

In 2014, this figure was 1,697.

Among those hospitalised for foot ulcers in 2015, almost 1,000 were under 65 years of age.

Overall, it is estimated that weight-related issues now cost the country around €1billion a year, with 60pc of adults and 25pc of children are deemed to be overweight.

Last month the Government launched a new strategy aimed at tackling Ireland's obesity problem.

The 'healthy weight for Ireland' programme aims to achieve an annual reduction of 0.5pc of excess weight in adults and children every year until 2025.

This week Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced that a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks will be introduced in 2018. Noonan said that the tax would be introduced in line with similar UK plans in April 2018.

Before that there will be public consultation over the measure which will run until 3 January next year.

Sunday Independent

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