Developing countries need Orphan Drugs
The need for orphan drugs has been on the rise in recent years, and is especially so in developing countries. In many cases, nobody is investing in developing better drugs for diseases that affect these countries. With giant pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer laying off workers as part of cost-cutting, they are also trimming research costs focused on revenue and barely breaking even. Resultantly, research and development in the smaller markets tend to get overlooked.
Due to low returns, rare diseases that tend to affect poorer countries usually get neglected by pharmaceutical giants in developed countries. Hence little or no attention is paid in improving or developing effective drugs or vaccines in these areas.
Manufacturers though, are not entirely to blame. The difficulty of funding research and production to maintain healthy revenue for an international market is already challenging as it is, much less to develop drugs for a very small percentage of the market that might not be able to pay for the drugs. Most of the affected countries lack the resources to afford research and development or expensive drugs. People who need these the most – usually poverty-stricken and near-to-starvation – often have to rely on the welfare of others for food and medicine and are unable to pay to receive proper medicine and treatments for their diseases.
More should and could be done by governments and health organizations to help fund or provide research grants focusing at orphan diseases that affect developing countries.
- Guest post from intern Louisa
Find out more on the orphan drug space in Asia at World Orphan Drug Congress Asia 2011, especially that in both developed and developing countries. Find out more on pricing and reimbursement structures as well as regulatory developments for orphan drugs in Asia.