Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2023;12(3):132-140. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2023.01030)

Analysis of marketed orphan drugs in China

Zhi W, Liu M, Yang D, Zhang S, Lu Y, Han J


In recent years, China has increased attention on the issue of rare diseases, and the government has promulgated rare disease–related policies to gradually improve rare disease diagnosis, treatment, drug marketing, and patient burden. Orphan drugs were added to the medical insurance directory in 7 batches, of which 22 drugs were first included in the 2004 medical insurance directory and 8, 16, 12, 7, 8, and 7 were included in the 2009, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 versions, respectively. Currently, 106 orphan drugs are marketed in China, which are suitable for treating 53 rare diseases such as hematologic diseases, congenital metabolism disorders, neuropathies, and digestive system diseases and for other treatment fields. The drugs are mainly manufactured in 15 countries such as China, Switzerland, and the USA, of which 10 drugs can be used to treat different rare diseases. At the same time, there are multiple treatments available for 25 rare diseases. In this paper, we examined the manufacturers, marketing status, indications, and inclusion of orphan drugs in the National Basic Medical Insurance Directory to describe and analyze the current status of 106 orphan drugs that are currently marketed in China to provide a reference for rare disease policy formulation and drug development.

KEYWORDS: marketed orphan drugs, rare diseases, medical insurance, indications for medication

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