Medications that treat rare medical conditions have historically proven difficult to both develop and market. As a result, they haven’t historically been a priority for large drug manufacturers.
“Orphan drugs”, medication defined in the 1983 Orphan Drug Act as treating diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people, are expensive to develop, expensive to buy and often unappealing to commercial developers because of low returns on investment.
Nonetheless, developing and commercializing medications for the few people who do need them is certainly worthwhile. There are approximately 7,000 rare, often life-threatening disorders.
As Canada’s federal health department, Health Canada, readies itself to boost orphan drug research, development and access, University of Minnesota researchers are looking for ways to do the same in the United States …