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      Estimating cumulative point prevalence of rare diseases: analysis of the Orphanet database


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          Rare diseases, an emerging global public health priority, require an evidence-based estimate of the global point prevalence to inform public policy. We used the publicly available epidemiological data in the Orphanet database to calculate such a prevalence estimate. Overall, Orphanet contains information on 6172 unique rare diseases; 71.9% of which are genetic and 69.9% which are exclusively pediatric onset. Global point prevalence was calculated using rare disease prevalence data for predefined geographic regions from the ‘Orphanet Epidemiological file’ ( http://www.orphadata.org/cgi-bin/epidemio.html). Of the 5304 diseases defined by point prevalence, 84.5% of those analysed have a point prevalence of <1/1 000 000. However 77.3–80.7% of the population burden of rare diseases is attributable to the 4.2% ( n = 149) diseases in the most common prevalence range (1–5 per 10 000). Consequently national definitions of ‘Rare Diseases’ (ranging from prevalence of 5 to 80 per 100 000) represent a variable number of rare disease patients despite sharing the majority of rare disease in their scope. Our analysis yields a conservative, evidence-based estimate for the population prevalence of rare diseases of 3.5–5.9%, which equates to 263–446 million persons affected globally at any point in time. This figure is derived from data from 67.6% of the prevalent rare diseases; using the European definition of 5 per 10 000; and excluding rare cancers, infectious diseases, and poisonings. Future registry research and the implementation of rare disease codification in healthcare systems will further refine the estimates.

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          The burden of rare diseases

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            Geographic variations in epidemiology of two autoimmune bullous diseases: pemphigus and bullous pemphigoid.

            Autoimmune bullous diseases are rare, organ-specific, a group of blistering disease of skin and mucous membranes. Recent studies suggest that the frequency of the autoimmune bullous diseases has been increasing. Pemphigus vulgaris and bullous pemphigoid are the most frequently reported autoimmune bullous diseases. High incidence of autoimmune bullous diseases in some ethnic groups such as pemphigus in Ashkenazi Jewish, or in some regions such as pemphigus foliaceus in Brazil has been shown to be related to genetic and environmental factors, respectively. Pemphigus has been reported more frequently in the female gender. Although it is most frequently diagnosed between the ages 50 and 60 in European countries, in the remaining countries in the world, it is seen between the ages of 30 and 50. Bullous pemphigoid is generally seen above 70 years of age. Although overall incidence is slightly higher in females, after the age of 80 years it is more frequent in males. Both pemphigus vulgaris and bullous pemphigoid has a chronic course with recurrences. Mortality risk of the patients with bullous pemphigoid was found at least 2 times higher and the mortality risk of the patients with pemphigus was found approximately 3 times higher than that of the general population. In this review, the results obtained from the epidemiological studies were analyzed according to geographic regions, and especially epidemiologic features of two prevalent autoimmune bullous diseases, pemphigus and bullous pemphigoid have been discussed.
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              Rare diseases, orphan drugs, and their regulation in Asia: Current status and future perspectives.

              Rare diseases are an important public health issue and a challenge to medical care. Specific legislation to encourage research of rare diseases and development of orphan drugs has been adopted in the United States (US), the European Union (EU), and elsewhere. In recent years, much progress has been made in some parts of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, with the enactment of legislation and accompanying regulation of rare diseases and orphan drugs. China is also actively promoting the regulation of rare diseases and orphan drugs. We describe the current status of the regulation of rare diseases and orphan drugs in Asia and we comparatively analyze the regulation of rare diseases and orphan drugs worldwide in order to examine the challenges to and future perspectives on promoting research on rare diseases and development of orphan drugs in China and other Asian countries.

                Author and article information

                +33 (0) 156538151 , stephanie.nguengang-wakap@inserm.fr
                Eur J Hum Genet
                Eur. J. Hum. Genet
                European Journal of Human Genetics
                Springer International Publishing (Cham )
                16 September 2019
                16 September 2019
                February 2020
                : 28
                : 2
                : 165-173
                [1 ]ISNI 0000000121866389, GRID grid.7429.8, Inserm, US14-Orphanet, ; Paris, France
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0488 8430, GRID grid.411596.e, Orphanet Ireland, National Rare Diseases Office, , Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, ; Dublin, Ireland
                [3 ]Eurordis - Rare Diseases Europe, Plateforme Maladies Rares, Paris, France
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Funded by: Direction Générale de la Santé, Ministère des Solidarités et de la Santé, France OrphaNetWork Direct Grant, European Union Health Programme 2014-2020, Grant Number 831390
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                © European Society of Human Genetics 2020

                health policy,economics
                health policy, economics


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