Orphan drug

Regulatory class of pharmaceutical drug / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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An orphan drug is a pharmaceutical agent that is developed to treat certain rare medical conditions. An orphan drug would not be profitable to produce without government assistance, due to the small population of patients affected by the conditions. The conditions that orphan drugs are used to treat are referred to as orphan diseases. The assignment of orphan status to a disease and to drugs developed to treat it is a matter of public policy that depends on the legislation (if there is any) of the country.

Designation of a drug as an orphan drug has yielded medical breakthroughs that might not otherwise have been achieved, due to the economics of drug research and development.[1] Examples of this can be that in the U.S. and the EU, it is easier to gain marketing approval for an orphan drug. There may be other financial incentives, such as an extended period of exclusivity, during which the producer has sole rights to market the drug. All are intended to encourage development of drugs which would otherwise lack sufficient profit motive to attract corporate research budgets and personnel.[2][3]

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