The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates that the total cost of diabetes in Canada is $9 billion. However, this is a gross estimate, based primarily on the estimated cost of diabetes in the United States. The epidemiology of diabetes in Canada is relatively well studied, and the development of comprehensive databases will improve our knowledge in this area. The economic impact of diabetes in Canada is likely to be immense, and given the current epidemiological trends, is also likely to increase with time. However, our ability to deal with the disease is currently limited by lack of information on how large this impact is. Lacking this, it is difficult to make predictions as to how potentially cost effective interventions, such as intensive diabetes management, might be. The economic burden of diabetes and related complications should be evaluated such that the health care system is better prepared to meet the increasing demand of this chronic condition. To address this lack of information, we are conducting a study of the costs of care for people with diabetes in the Province of Saskatchewan.

Using data from the administrative databases of Saskatchewan Health, we determined the total health care expenditures for people with DM in the province of Saskatchewan for the years 1991 to 1996, as well as average costs for individual beneficiaries. Costs were calculated for hospitalizations, physician services, drugs and dialysis. We identified specific diabetes complications, and determined the patterns of resource use and costs associated with these complications.
This study is not intended to simply provide an estimate of the cost-of-illness of diabetes, but provides important information on the trajectory of costs for certain comorbidities and complications of diabetes. These data will be important ‘pieces in the puzzle’ that will be used by the ACHORD Group in future analyses, including microsimulation models for health care interventions for diabetes.

Research Team

Jeff Johnson, Scot Simpson, Phil Jacobs, William Osei, Winanne Downey, Arto Ohimnaa


Institute of Health Economics


Johnson JA, Simpson S, Jacobs P, Downey W, Beck P, Osei W. Cost of Health Care for People with Diabetes Mellitus in Saskatchewan 1991 to 1996. Working Paper 02-02. Institute of Health Economics, AB, 2002.

Mitchell CG, Simpson SH, Johnson JA. The cost of diabetes testing strips in Saskatchewan, 1996: A retrospective database analysisCanadian Journal of Diabetes 2003; 27:149-153.

Simpson SH, Corabian P, Jacobs P, Johnson JA. The cost of major comorbidity in people with diabetes mellitus. Can Med Assoc J 2003;168:1661-7.

Ohinmaa A, Jacobs P, Simpson SH, Johnson JA. The projection of prevalence and cost of diabetes in Canada: 2000 to 2016. Can J Diabetes 2004;28:116-23.