Orphan drug designation in Europe-Procedural guidance and challenges

  • Christina Nicolodi International Regulatory Affairs, 1060 Vienna, Austria


The European legislative framework on orphan medicinal products was implemented to stimulate the development of medicinal products against rare diseases and to ensure the patient’s adequate access to qualitative and specific treatment methods. Between 2000 and 2018 3210 orphan drug designation applications were submitted in Europe of which 2121 orphan designations have been issued by the European Commission. (1) Though the definitions for orphan medicinal products and the regulatory procedures are well defined, a high degree of regulatory knowledge is needed and strategic decisions on the development program must be considered at a very early stage of development: in fact, only 164 of the 2121 designated orphan development products have resulted in authorised orphan medicinal products since the orphan legislation was implemented.

In this article, the requirements and procedures for the orphan designation application and maintenance at the time of marketing authorisation application are discussed in the context of the European Regulation.

Keywords: Orphan designation application, Commission Regulation, European legislative, MAA, EEA, COMP, EMA


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How to Cite
Nicolodi, C. “Orphan Drug Designation in Europe-Procedural Guidance and Challenges”. International Journal of Drug Regulatory Affairs, Vol. 7, no. 3, Sept. 2019, pp. 1-7, doi:10.22270/ijdra.v7i3.326.