Rashmi R Shah



The implementation of Community Regulation on orphan medicinal products in the European Union in April 2000 has resulted in a deluge of applications for designation of medicinal products as orphan for rare diseases. By April 2004, the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products had already given positive opinion on 63 per cent of the 316 applications considered by them. A significant number of these positive designations have already matured into full marketing authorisations. Three major reasons – failure to meet prevalence or significant benefit criteria or provide evidence of biological plausibility – have equally contributed to either the negative opinion on or the applicants withdrawing the remaining applications. In July 2004, the European Commission issued a communication setting out its position on certain matters relating to the implementation of the designation and market exclusivity provisions. The Commission, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) continue to be proactive and provide as much guidance and incentives as practical, engaging themselves with sponsors, patient groups and academia. As experience builds up and issues are clarified, there are expectations that the Community Regulation on orphan medicines will prove to be a spectacular success.

Keywords:biological plausibility ,Commission Communication ,orphan medicinal products ,prevalence ,protocol assistance ,significant benefit ,en ,