BMI View: The high prevalence and poor management of diabetes in Mexico present sizable opportunities for multinational pharmaceutical companies. Although local authorities have allocated significant resources to address this issue and urge Mexicans to change their lifestyles, diabetes treatments from Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, which have significant presence in the country, will generate strong revenue growth in the short and medium terms.
Diabetes has long been Mexico's number one health problem, as a result of increasingly unhealthy lifestyles and rising obesity levels. According to estimates from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), over 10mn Mexicans, or 9% of population, suffer from the metabolic condition. Mexico had the sixth most cases of diabetes in the world and its diabetes prevalence ranked the top in 2012. BMI's Burden of Disease Database (BoDD) shows that disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost to diabetes ranks the highest among communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country. Mexico's DALYS lost to diabetes totalled over 30% of the total diabetes DALYs in Latin America. Diabetes is the country's most common cause of mortality in adults, and the number one cause of hospital discharge in the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS).
|Highest Diabetes Prevalence In The World|
|Top Ten Countries In Terms Of Number of People with Diabetes (mn) (LHS) & Diabetes Prevalence (%) (RHS)|
Given the high diabetes mortality rate and the lack of control among diagnosed patents, poor disease management of diabetes has become a major concern in Mexico. A survey carried out by Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica reported that although the treatment coverage for type 2 diabetes is high (94%), only 5% of patients diagnosed with the disease are fall under the 'maintaining the condition well' category - in terms of haemoglobin A1c (HbA1C) measurement (which should be below seven). The study showed that of the majority of patients being treated with anti-diabetic medication: 85% are receiving anti-diabetic agents, 7% are on insulin only and 3% are on combination of both, and 6% are treated with no medication.
Financial burden imposed to Mexico's healthcare system by diabetes has been high. As diabetes is covered by the national health insurance programme, Seguro Popular, the majority of the spending is financed by the public sector. A recent study from Mexico's Centre for Research in Nutrition and Health (Centro de Investigación en Nutrición y Salud) and the National Public Health Institute Of Mexico (Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, INSP) reported that total direct cost for diabetes in the country reached US$1.16bn in 2006 and the indirect cost of diabetes was estimated at US$177mn, mainly from the cost of permanently disabled patients.  The main chronic complications of diabetes such as nephropathy, cardiovascular disease, retinopathy, neuropathy and peripheral vascular diseases, directly cost Mexico US$110mn in 2010.
|Government Spends The Most|
|Direct Costs Of Diabetes in 2006 (US$mn) (LHS) & Direct Costs Of Major Diabetes Complications in 2010 (US$mn) (RHS)|
The Mexican government has recently launched many programmes to prevent and control diabetes such as: regulating food distributed in Mexican primary schools; developing communication campaigns to raise awareness of the disease and of the benefits of healthy weight, adequate diet and physical activity; unifying guidelines and criteria to diagnose and control diabetes; developing a National Health Card for adults, in which criteria and objectives for health risks are prioritised and evaluations of healthy weight, blood sugar, blood pressure and lipid levels are emphasised.
 Barquera et al. Globalization and Health 2013, 9:3.