Orphan Drugs Expected to Account For 21% of All Drug Sales By 2022

With the global population as huge as it is today, even the rarest of diseases have several thousands of occurrences and cannot be ignored. Orphan drugs are the pharmaceutical agents that have been specifically designed and developed to treat a rare medical condition. These medical conditions are sometimes referred to as orphan diseases. Orphan drugs are intended to treat diseases that are so rare that sponsors are always reluctant to develop them as the effort put into developing the drug may not be worth the money they get out of selling it. Moreover, the entire process from the discovery of a new molecule to its marketing could take about 10 years and could cost millions of dollars with the success ratio being around 1:9. Developing such drugs does not allow for the recovery of the capital invested in its R&D.

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Since the global populace today is becoming more and more susceptible to several degenerative and debilitating diseases, the orphan drugs market is starting to emerge and grow. This increased susceptibility to rare diseases is due to unhealthy lifestyle choices and hereditary disorders. There has also been a surge in the prevalence of rare diseases among millennials. Owing to these facts the global orphan drugs market has been analyzed as a rapidly progressing industry currently valued at over USD 113.9 Billion as of 2016 and is expected to rise at a CAGR of 7.886 percent to reach USD 166.4 Billion by 2021, according to the syndicated research report published by Market Data Forecast.

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The market is experiencing decent growth and it has the advantage of exclusivity since it’s the market for orphan drugs. Government legislations are also propelling the growth of the market. The FDA established the Office of orphan Product Development which provided incentives to companies to work on developing products and treatments to cure rare diseases which they would otherwise deem non profitable. They are provided with tax reductions and exclusive rights on the products for seven years. These steps have led to many leading pharmaceutical companies, especially the healthcare market leaders such as Novartis, GSK, Roche, Sanofi, Celgene, and Merck to divert more of their resources to R&D projects for orphan diseases and enabling them to produce better products.

Apart from the companies above Alexion is a global powerhouse in the market for orphan drugs. It has recently announced that it was conducting an internal probe into its sales practices and replaced its chairman to redefine the culture of the organization which had started to slip over the recent years. The FDA had recently has recently granted approval for the drug named ALXN1210 for treatment of patients with Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria which is a rare, chronic, and debilitating disorder and results in the death of approximately 50 percent of the people it inflicts. There has been no therapy till now and the drug from Alexion seems to be the only one that could help the people suffering from this disease.

Orphan drugs had reached 41 percent of the new drugs developed in 2014 and the sales are expected to double to USD 209 Billion and account for 21 percent of the sales of all drugs by 2022. Improving healthcare infrastructure in developing countries has also benefitted the market, but hurdles faced during clinical studies and the high investment capital are still hindering the market. USA holds the largest share in the global orphan drugs market which is unsurprising as it spends nearly 20 percent of its GDP in Healthcare. Other governments are also adopting policies to boost their healthcare market to improve the quality of living of its citizens.

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