What Is an Orphan Drug?
Pharmaceutical (drug) and biotech companies are constantly researching and developing new medications to treat medical conditions, and new drugs come on the market frequently. People who have rare diseases or disorders, however, have not had as much research attention in past decades. This is because their numbers are small and therefore the potential market for new drugs to treat them (commonly referred to as “orphan drugs”) is also small. A rare disease occurs in less than 200,000 individuals in the United States, or less than 5 per 10,000 individuals in the European Union. Government regulatory agencies in the United States and the European Union have thus taken steps to reduce this disparity.
read more at: http://rarediseases.about.com/od/rarediseaseso/a/orphandrug.htm