Background: Reported prevalence of youth-onset diabetes (15-30y) in India range from 1 to 1.5% with half the cases being diagnosed. National estimates indicate only 2 in 5 diagnosed cases are taking medication. Yet, data are scarce on the socio-economic predictors and financial burden associated with medication use in this population.

Methods: Using data from the National Family Health Survey 2019-21 among youth (n = 4682) with diagnosed diabetes, we estimated the association of socio-economic factors (i.e., household wealth quintile, urbanicity, and household members with diagnosed diabetes) and medication use. We used robust survey-weighted Poisson regression adjusting for sex, age, high school completion and state fixed effects. Using the National Sample Survey 2017-18, we benchmarked the average cost of inpatient and outpatient diabetes medication among youth with diabetes (n = 120) as a proportion of national net per-capita income (Rs. 115,224).

Results: Nationally, 1.2% (1.1 - 1.3) of youth 15-30 years old had diabetes, 75% of these cases were diagnosed and 30.9% (95%CI: 28.8, 33.0) of those diagnosed were talking medications. Urban residence (Prevalence ratio, PR: 1.30 [1.13, 1.51]) and increasing household wealth (highest (ref: lowest) 1.28 [1.02, 1.59]) were associated with higher medication use. A household member with diabetes was associated with lower medication use (0.45 [0.32, 0.63]). Out-of-pocket expenses corresponded to 47.0% (31.7, 62.3) of national per capita income. Medications accounted for 35.9% (22.9, 49.0) and 44.9% (33.1, 56.8) of the annual expenses for in-patient (Rs. 35511 [14935, 56088]) and out-patient (Rs. 18651 [9025, 28275]) care respectively.

Conclusions: Out of pocket expense for persons with youth-onset diabetes in India is, on average, over 40% of per capita income, with medication cost being the biggest driver. These data call for social safety nets to protect family income of those with youth-onset diabetes in India.


J.Varghese: None. N.M.Varghese: None. K.Narayan: None.


National Institutes of Health (P30DK111024)

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