Eyes on Diabetes: India needs improved affordable therapies, says ISCR

The Indian Society for Clinical Research says that there is need for scaling up efforts to develop the therapies that are affordable to the huge population in India


New Delhi: Recognizing the crucial need for early screening to detect Type 2 diabetes and manage the risk of its serious complications, Eyes on Diabetes is this year’s theme for World Diabetes Day which falls on November 14, 2016. While globally there are new and improved therapies to better manage diabetes, these therapies are either expensive or not accessible to the population at large in India says the Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR). Therefore, we need to scale-up clinical research, specifically in Type 2 diabetes, to provide treatment options that are effective, affordable and improve the quality of a diabetic’s life.

“Currently available treatment for diabetes has its limitations in terms of safety and efficacy in achieving glycemic control on long term basis and there is a need for exploring better treatment options, which is only possible through clinical research. Indians differ from other populations in terms of body build, genetic origin, and disease presentation. Hence, India needs more clinical trials in diabetes to develop more suitable and effective treatment options for the Indian population,” said Dr Vyankatesh Shivane, Consultant Diabetologist and Metabolic Physician.

It is estimated that by 2030, there will be more than 100 million patients living with diabetes in India. With the growing burden of diabetes in India, there will be a corresponding increase in diabetes related complications, many of which can be managed if the condition is detected on time. According to the International Diabetes Federation, diabetes is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputation and kidney failure. Data from the International Diabetes Federation indicates that one in two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed and up to 70 percent of Type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed by adopting healthier lifestyles.

“The prevalence of diabetes in India is on the rise with approximately 70 million diabetes patients in the country. There are an equal number of patients with pre-diabetes, which is the first stage of the onset of diabetes. The prevalence of complications of diabetes is high in patients with both diabetes and pre-diabetes. In India, Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes remains undiagnosed for a longer period of time for a number of reasons, hence patients are more prone to complications. In keeping with this year’s theme of World Diabetes Day ‘Eyes on Diabetes”, we must have large-scale screening programmes for early diagnosis of diabetes and pre-diabetes and early intervention. Effective glycemic control will definitely help reduce the complications associated with diabetes and reduce morbidity and mortality,” noted Dr Shivane.

“Given the increasing prevalence of diabetes in India, our focus through clinical research should be to meet the unmet medical needs of diabetics and develop improved therapies that cut across all economic strata,” said Suneela Thatte, President of ISCR.