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NORD/EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe Joint Statement on COVID-19 and Orphan Drug Legislation

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) and EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe share the global concern that diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to address COVID-19 be developed expeditiously. Our organizations represent the 30 million people in the US and 30 million people in the EU living with rare diseases. These individuals are disproportionately at risk if they contract this disease and will be among those who benefit the most when such products are developed and made available.

Notwithstanding our community’s stake in solutions for COVID-19, we do not believe that rare disease incentives that exist under our respective laws, the Orphan Drug Act in the US and the EU Regulation on Orphan Medicinal Products, are appropriate for use in this global pandemic in which hundreds of thousands, if not millions, will be affected. These laws have been highly successful at spurring development of therapeutics for those rare diseases which affect a very small number of people in the population and where there was a lack of investment in research.


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