New Report Shows More Than 220 Medicines in Pipeline for Diabetes


Washington, D.C. (November 13, 2012) — America's biopharmaceutical research companies currently are developing 221 innovative new medicines to help the nearly 26 million patients in the United States affected by diabetes.

These medicines in development – all in either clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – include 32 for type 1 diabetes, 130 for type 2 and 64 for diabetes-related conditions, according to a new report released by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

"Diabetes is a serious chronic disease with far-reaching implications for American patients, families, our health care system and our economy," said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. "However, diabetes can be controlled through lifestyle interventions. And treatment with medications can also manage and slow the disease. The medicines in the pipeline represent an exciting new chapter in the ongoing quest to better treat this debilitating disease."

Since 1990, six new classes of diabetes type 2 medicines have been approved by FDA, giving patients and providers powerful new tools to treat the condition. America's biopharmaceutical research companies continue to explore many different approaches to battle diabetes [link to backgrounder]. Examples of the potential innovations outlined in the report include:

  • A once-daily medicine that selectively inhibits the protein associated with glucose metabolism.
  • A medicine designed to inhibit an enzyme linked to diabetic neuropathy.
  • A medicine to treat type 2 diabetes that may allow for once-weekly dosing.

One in 10 American adults has diabetes now and as many as one in three could face the disease by 2050 if current trends continue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The prevalence is expected to rise sharply for a variety of reasons, including an aging population more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, increases in minority groups at high risk for the disease, and longer lifespans among diabetes patients. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to severe health problems and complications, such as heart disease, stroke, vision loss and amputation.

In addition to the terrible human toll associated with these outcomes, the economic consequences of diabetes are enormous. In 2007, the cost of diabetes in the United States was $174 billion. If the additional costs of undiagnosed diabetes ($18 billion), pre-diabetes ($25 billion) and gestational diabetes ($623 million) are factored, the total annual cost of diabetes in the U.S. amounts to $218 billion.

Improved adherence to diabetes medications can lead to better health outcomes and reduced costs. According to recent research, patients with diabetes who do not consistently take their medicines as prescribed are 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who follow their prescribed treatment regimens more than 80 percent of the time.

In addition, a recent study in Health Affairs projected that improved adherence to diabetes medications could result in more than one million emergency room visits and close to 620,000 hospitalizations annually, for a total potential savings of $8.3 billion annually.

"Many of the human and economic costs associated with diabetes can be avoided, making improvement of patient adherence one of the best opportunities to get better results and greater value from our health care system," Castellani added. "This is by no means an easy task, but stakeholders throughout the health care system – including biopharmaceutical research companies – must work together to tackle this shared objective."

In conjunction with the report, PhRMA is releasing an array of multi-media materials on diabetes research and care, including perspectives from biopharmaceutical researchers, patient groups and professional organizations. A new infographic will appear in a special issue of the Financial Times, slated for release November 14. More information is available on our website (

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