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How the Orphan Drug Act Changed the Development Landscape

Most of the world’s highest-priced drugs are for rare diseases. In the U.S., those are conditions that affect about a couple hundred thousand people. But some affect as few as a couple hundred people worldwide.

Surprising? Turns out that even small patient populations can now deliver a healthy profit. Price tags for such drugs can reach more than $500,000 per patient/per year. And there are other bonuses for developing a rare disease drug. As a result, this field has drawn tremendous interest from drug developers and led to some startling breakthroughs that have literally turned deadly diseases into manageable conditions.

A 2013 study by Robert Handfield, Bank of America University Distinguished Professor and director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative based in Poole College, and his colleague Josh Feldstein, is cited in this story, which includes remarks by Handfield. Read more