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High Prices For Orphan Drugs Negatively Impact Its Consumers

Update Date: Jan 19, 2017 06:58 PM EST

Orphan drugs are specially formulated for rare diseases. Due to its low demand as it is only intended for diseases and illnesses that affect few individuals, its price continually soars, making it close to impossible for low-income families to access the cure that they need.

NPR features the story of a two-year-old boy, Luke Whitebeck. He is diagnosed with a rare condition known as Gaucher disease, which is a genetic disorder. Luke's medication can cost up to $300,000 a year as the orphan drug Cerezyme is what keeping him alive.

With the costs of his medication, the Whitebeck family has been doing their best to make ends meet. Cerezyme, which is created specifically for the rare disease, is only needed by less that 200,000 individuals in the United States. In order to aid families that in need of the orphan drug, the Food and Drug Administration partnered with several government agencies to provide the needed medications at a lower cost.

The program which provides orphan drugs for patients is said to run for 34 years already. FDA and other organizations have been doing their best to aid those who are in need as the costs of the medications that continually skyrockets.

While the government is doing its best to take the burden of the patients, it was mentioned that the cost of the medication is too much for them to cover. Insurance agencies such as Medicare and Medicaid are also struggling to cover the drugs costing as much as $840,000 per year, yet they are left with no choice but to pay for it as it is under their coverage.

Only one out of ten people suffer from a rare disease and FircePharma already released 20 orphan drugs by 2018. Medicare companies are paving way for medical advancement as they strive to find a cure for rare chronic diseases with the hopes of finding a cheaper alternative.

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