PURPOSE To find out the average economic burden of medical care on a patient with diabetes in Pune, India. METHODS A semi-open ended questionnaire followed by interview was conducted with patients attending diabetes and ophthalmic out-patient departments. They were asked regarding the duration of diabetes, methods undertaken for blood sugar control and the amount they spend on consultations, laboratory tests, medicines and procedures if any within past year. Expenditure was classified as direct cost (cost of medicines, doctor's fees, investigations, lasers and surgery) and indirect cost (travel, diet control, health classes and loss of wages). Data was collected regarding the socioeconomic status according to Kuppaswamy classification. RESULTS 219 patients participated of whom 129 were males (58.9%). Average annual direct cost of diabetes treatment was Rs 8,822 of which 52.1% was spend on medicines, 3.2% was spend on lasers, 12.6% was spend on surgical procedures, 11.6% spent on investigations and 10.4% was spend on clinician fees. Average annual indirect cost was Rs. 3949 of which 3.4% was spend on travelling purpose, 0.4% was spent on health classes, 4.9% was spent on diet control and 91.3% was loss of wages. Average expenditure done by lower middle class was 23.7% of their income. Average percentage of income for direct and indirect cost was 3.6% and 1.4% respectively. The cost of the treatment formed1.3% of the annual income for those in Socio-economic class I, 1.7% in class II, 3.7% in class III and 23.7% in class IV. CONCLUSION The cost of managing diabetes was a significant proportion of the patients' income, especially for those on lower socio-economic scale (class IV).