Rare disease is defined in the US as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people. Photo: Bloomberg

Rare diseases are not uncommon, and may be the mother lode for the world’s pharmaceutical producers and researchers

  • Up to 30 million people live with as many as 7,000 types of rare diseases in the United States, the world’s largest and most advanced pharmaceutical market
  • US market for rare-disease drugs is estimated at US$43 billion, just under 10 per cent of the nation’s total drug spending
Topic |   Health in China

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Rare disease is defined in the US as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people. Photo: Bloomberg
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A Xi’an girl’s escape from early death sheds light on China’s arduous journey to make drugs affordable for rare diseases

  • Gu Ruofei suffers from mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS), a rare metabolic disorder that stunts her growth
  • The disease, estimated to afflict one in 250,000 births, is expensive to treat, a problem made worse by its absence from a Chinese government catalogue that qualifies certain drugs for insurance reimbursement
Topic |   Health in China

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