Tackling rare diseases
Brussels – The European orphan diseases lobby group EURORDIS has welcomed the final adoption of the “Council Recommendation on European Action in the field of Rare Diseases”. In June, national health ministers greenlighted a European strategy that calls on member states to implement national plans for rare diseases before the end of 2013. The recommendation foresees concerted action at both EU and national levels in order to ensure that rare diseases are adequately coded and registered to improve diagnosis, boost research and identify centres of expertise. As of April 2009, 52 drugs had been approved in the EU to treat diseases that affect less than one in 2,000 people, and a further 650 compounds are under development (for an update, see www.vfa.de/forschung/am-entwicklung/orphan-drug-list/).