Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2023;12(4):251-256. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2023.01086)

Release and impact of China's "Second List of Rare Diseases"

Tang M, Yang Y, Ye Z, Song P, Jin C, Kang Q, He J


On September 18, 2023, the National Health Commission of China officially announced the "Second List of Rare Diseases". This list of 86 rare diseases, drafted in accordance with the "Working Procedures for Drafting the List of Rare Diseases", marks the second release of a rare disease list since the initial list was issued in May 2018. Following the release of the first batch, the Chinese Government introduced various policies to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases, to promote the research on, development of, production of, and availability of rare disease medications in China, and to improve medication access for patients with rare diseases. Consequently, this has elevated the level of rare disease diagnosis and treatment, ensuring greater accessibility to treatment for affected individuals. The expansion of the rare disease list through the release of the "Second List of Rare Diseases" will further enhance rare disease management, increase awareness, improve diagnosis and treatment, facilitate the development and availability of more rare disease medications, establish a comprehensive support system for patients with rare diseases, and ultimately benefit a larger number of individuals affected by rare diseases. The definition of rare diseases in China should be refined by explicitly establishing corresponding criteria based on incidence, prevalence, or the number of affected individuals. Additionally, the mechanism for removal of diseases from rare disease lists should be enhanced, and prompt adjustments should be made regarding diseases that do not align with the selection principles of the list, taking into consideration environmental changes.

KEYWORDS: rare diseases, China, disease list, health policy, definition

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