Why Drugs For Rare Diseases Are So Darn Expensive

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

An "orphan drug" is one developed to treat an "orphan disease"—that is, a disease that not many people have. Thanks to the rules of supply and demand—plus some choice regulations on the part of the U.S. government—the median price for an orphan drug is about 20 times the price of a non-orphan drug. But what's worse: an expensive drug, or no drug at all? Explore the idea in the video below.

Is there something you're curious about? Send us a note or email us at editors (at) And follow Curiosity on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

An Introduction To Orphan Drugs

The Orphan Drug Machine

The Pharmaceutical Industry

Share the knowledge!

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.