Fierce Biotech reports this afternoon that the European commission has pledged $187M in new research funds aimed at helping develop up to 200 new drugs for rare diseases by the year 2020. Rare diseases have become a popular target these days for drug makers so the uptake of the R&D in these projects should be good. Part of the popularity with developers is that these drugs can take a more streamlined path in clinical trials and with regulatory approval. Another popular feature is that these drugs often command among the highest prices per patient in the biotech world.
It's ironic that the previous post talks about Express Scripts latest analysis of drug prices. The so-called Specialty category experienced an 18%+ growth rate last year and that is expected to continue. Drugs to combat rare diseases typcially fall squarely in this category as well. So these drugs while provided needed therapies for the afflicted will tend to further exacerbate the financial and issues that 3rd party payers and governments are grappling with.
It's further ironic to me that many of the groups that advocate for the development of more rare disease drugs -- which have been historically neglected -- tend to also be the first groups that raise objections to ultra-high prices these drugs often command. Therein lies the rub.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Mar 5th 2013.