patient493915589The Orphan Drug Act aims to incentivize treatment of rare disorders or conditions affecting fewer than 200,000 persons in the United States through: (1) federal funding of grants and contracts to perform clinical trials of orphan products; (2) a tax credit of 50 percent of clinical testing costs; and (3) an exclusive right to market the orphan drug for approved orphan indications for 7 years from the date of marketing approval. While these financial incentives certainly make the business decision to engage in orphan drug development more palatable, the FDA does not approve orphan drugs on a separate pathway, despite the limited understanding of the diseases in question that presents developers of these drugs with problems stemming from small sample size and lack of well-defined efficacy endpoints.
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