The new National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) obesity guidelines will lead to a sharp rise in bariatric surgery among type 2 diabetes patients in the UK, according to Dr Valentina Gburcik, a senior analyst at research firm GlobalData.

Dr Gburcik claimed that surgery would slow up the increasing growth in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes complications in the UK, as obesity is closely linked to the disease.

“The current annual National Health Service (NHS) spending on diabetes is nearly £24 billion, and it is expected to reach over £30 billion over the next 10 years,” she said.

“Most of this spending, about 80%, goes on diabetes complications, which are preventable. Since evidence suggests that 60% of patients will have improved symptoms after gastric bypass, the new NICE guidelines will lead to huge savings for the NHS in the long term.

As almost 20% of type 2 diabetes patients would be eligible for surgery, the yearly cost for this treatment could reach up to £5 billion, which might be unbearable for the NHS in the short term, Dr Gburcik said, adding: “But if the prevalence of diabetic complications is reduced by half in 10 years, this new initiative would eventually bring savings of over £10 billion to the NHS.”

“The pharmaceutical type 2 diabetes market in the UK is currently valued at around £400 million and is expected to more than double over the next 10 years. Despite the fact that the new NICE initiative may slow down the growth of this market, GlobalData believes that the impact will not be very significant, due to physicians’ efforts to delay disease progression even further and prevent the costly burden of complications.

“On the other hand, the pharmaceutical market for diabetes complications, which is currently growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of around 8% in the UK, may be substantially affected.”