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Health care spending in the United States is out of control. The most significant aspect of medical care driving this spending is pharmaceuticals; within pharmaceuticals the greatest increases have been in spending for diabetes medications. The cost of insulin analogs has increased 5- to 6-fold in the last 10 years for no particular reason. More than 90% of US patients who use insulin use these analogs, despite the fact that they have few if any clinical benefits relative to regular or NPH insulin, which cost 1/10 as much. Aside from the cost of insulin, diabetes is probably treated far more aggressively than necessary since clinical trials demonstrating the benefits of aggressive glucose control for type 2 diabetes demonstrated vanishingly small benefits of this form of treatment. In this podcast we discuss the perplexing case of spending too much money on diabetes treatment.
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