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Fighting Diabetes

Diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans – and about one-quarter are unaware they have the disease.

Diabetes is a complex, chronic illness that requires consistent medical care and treatment to help control blood sugar levels and prevent acute or long-term complications of the disease, such as kidney failure and amputations.



According to the American Diabetes Association, most Americans with diabetes have type 2, in which relative insulin deficiency combines with the body failing to properly use insulin. More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, up from the previous estimate of 29 million in 2013, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And an estimated 7 million people have the disease but are unaware.

As the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes has far-reaching implications for patients and for our health care system. There are currently 171 medicines in the pipeline to treat diabetes and related conditions, either in clinical trials or awaiting approval from the FDA. These medicines represent an exciting new chapter in the ongoing quest to better treat this debilitating disease.

30 Million Americans Afflicted

Approximately 1.5 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes and of the 30 million Americans living with diabetes, 7 million are undiagnosed. An additional 86 million Americans have prediabetes. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

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I'm Not Average: Kady H. 

She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), which was a shock because she had no family history of this disease. This deadly disease, while frightening and new, was manageable once Kady and her family became educated about T1D and were able to take steps to treat it. However, she needs multiple insulin shots a day to manage her blood glucose levels and stay alive. Although the disease permeates every aspect of her life, Kady has never let T1D stop her from pursuing her dreams and goals. She embraces new therapies and technologies that make living with T1D easier, and remains optimistic about improved therapies that will continue to lessen the burden of her disease until there is a cure.

Read Kady's full story and explore others.

PhRMA's Dr. Chin talks about Diabetes  

PhRMA Executive VP and Chief Medical Officer William Chin M.D. talks about new and exciting therapies for diabetes. 



Underdiagnosis and Undertreatment 

Controlling diabetes is crucial to preventing complications like kidney failure and stroke. Out of 30 million Americans with diabetes, only 23 million are diagnosed, 19 million are treated, and only 8 million are successfully treated and living with controlled diabetes. The other 22 million Americans live with uncontrolled diabetes. 

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Diabetes Medicines in the Pipeline 

Researching and developing new medicines for diabetes is particularly difficult, with scientific and regulatory challenges introducing unique hurdles for researchers to navigate. Still, biopharmaceutical research companies continue to explore different approaches to fight diabetes and its related conditions. Among the 171 medicines in the development pipeline today.

1.4 Million

New Cases Diagnosed Annually

Diabetes is now the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. It is also the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults.

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Medicines in the Pipeline

America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are developing over 170 medicines for diabetes and diabetes-related conditions, such as chronic kidney failure due to diabetes and painful diabetic neuropathy. These medicines in development include 40 for type 1 diabetes, 95 for type 2 and 61 for diabetes-related conditions. Read our report on the new frontier in treatments for type 1 diabetes and other challenging autoimmune diseases, and learn more about other diabetes medicines currently in development.

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