Regional differences in sales of glucometer strips and antidiabetics.
ABSTRACT Studies have shown that the prevalence of diabetes in Norway is 3-5 %, and that approximately 97,000 Norwegian patients perform self-monitoring of blood glucose. There is a need for studies of geographical differences in diabetes prevalence and treatment. This study investigates differences between counties in the prevalence of patients treated with antidiabetics in Norway, and in the use of glucometer strips.
Data on the sale of antidiabetes medication to non-institutionalized patients were acquired from the Norwegian Register of Prescriptions, while corresponding data on glucometer strips were received from the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (HELFO).
We found a nationwide prevalence of medicinally treated diabetes of 2.9 %. The corresponding prevalence of use of glucometer strips was 2.1 %. There was a 27.5 % difference between the counties with the highest and lowest prevalence of medicinally treated diabetes, while the difference in use of glucometer strips was 31.5 %. The average cost of antidiabetes drugs was 23.7 % higher in the county with the highest average expenditure compared with the county with the lowest expenditure. There was a difference of up to 44 % between counties in the average purchase of glucometer strips per person.
The geographical differences may be due to different availability of health services or different therapy traditions. A shortage of guidelines on the frequency of self-monitoring of blood glucose may also have a bearing on the differences.