Sales hit the billion dollar mark as pharmaceutical companies apply creative approaches to increase earnings. For instance, “salami slicing”: Dividing diseases into smaller and smaller categories based on genetic and biomarker differences so that the product can achieve the coveted orphan drug status.
In some respects, the 1983 Orphan Drug Act is a success story. But high prices and allegations that some drug companies have twisted the law to their advantage have made it controversial. Here are some of the main points in the debate.
Sales of orphan drugs are forecast to grow 11% over the next five years, to $209 billion. That growth rate is twice as fast as the expected increase in sales of all other prescription medicines. They may account for more than 21% of brand-name prescription drug sales by 2022.