INDIA – AstraZeneca India has introduced its rare disease drug Selumetinib for patients in India following regulatory approval, marking its entry into rare disease therapy in the country.
AstraZeneca India, a leading science-led biopharmaceutical company, reiterated its support for Rare Disease Day, by launching a novel product for rare disease patients.
The biotechnology company has teamed up with the Organization of Rare Diseases in India (ORDI) to raise awareness of these debilitating disorders, and ultimately develop innovative medicines focused on patients’ unique needs.
“We are bringing transformative medicines to patients living with rare diseases in India who currently have limited treatment options or no available treatment at all,” said Dr. Sanjeev Panchal, Country President and Managing Director of AstraZeneca India, in a statement.
Often debilitating lifelong disease or disorder condition with a prevalence of 1 or less per 1000 population is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a rare disease.
The common denominator of rare diseases is the infrequency of their occurrence in the human population, affecting at least 400 million people worldwide.
In India, there is neither a clear estimate of the rate of mortality or morbidity nor an understanding of the disease burden on the public healthcare system, when it comes to rare diseases.
AstraZeneca India has partnered with the Organization of Rare Diseases India (ORDI) to support access to therapeutic solutions and advocate for the rare disease community.
As a gesture of its support, AstraZeneca will be participating in ORDI’s flagship ‘RaceFor7’, a multi-city 7 km run commemorating Rare Diseases day in the country.
The partnership aims to enable all patients with rare diseases with access to early and accurate diagnosis, timely treatment, and long-term supportive care.
“We look forward to advancing this commitment and working with stakeholders to bring more innovative therapies for more rare disease patients and develop a roadmap to augment early diagnosis and holistic care,” Dr. Panchal reaffirmed to the patients.
AstraZeneca will work closely with the patient organization to conduct advanced research on rare diseases in a bid to reduce the total economic burden of rare diseases in India.
Based on the finding of the rare disease research, the biopharmaceutical company will develop the right medicines for patients diagnosed or living with known rare diseases.
The collaboration between AstraZeneca and ORDI aspires to leverage the latest molecular techniques and DNA sequencing technology to support rare disease patients and their families in India.
Commenting on the partnership, Prasanna Shirol, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Organization for Rare Diseases India, said: “With less than 6% of rare diseases having any kind of treatment, coupled with extremely limited availability of any rare disease treatment in India, expectations from global pharma companies are high.”
He called upon all health stakeholders like the general public, medical fraternity, basic and clinical researchers, and policymakers to raise awareness about rare diseases in the country, noting that government support is as essential as philanthropic or private support.
“New product launches by companies like AstraZeneca are important for rare disease patients, especially the neurological group of patients,” stated Prasanna Shirol.