New Mexico residents should know that rare diseases affect as many as 30 million people in the United States and are commonly misdiagnosed by doctors. Rare diseases, which number over 6,000, are classified as any kind of disease the affects a small portion of a population. They have a variety of symptoms and disorders, which can present differently in patients that are inflicted with the identical diseases.
Because these diseases are rare, in addition to misdiagnosing the diseases, a doctor may not know how to properly treat a patient suffering from the condition. The rare occurrence of these diseases is also why there is little information about them.
One medical tool that may benefit rare disease patients is the orphan drug. This refers to new medicines and treatments that have not been commercially developed because of their poor chances of earning a profit. Since the passage of the Orphan Drug Act of 1983, which made it easier to advance drugs that targeted rare diseases, more than 500 orphan drugs have undergone extensive testing and trials and have become approved treatments by the FDA for rare medical conditions. There are also other drugs that have been classified as orphan drugs and are being explored as viable rare disease treatments.
Clinical trials and patient registries are being used to combat rare diseases. Clinical trials use human volunteers to assess the effects of a drug on a disease. Patient registries, which collects data on a particular patient population, is used to comprehend to track the history of a disease and the effectiveness of treatments.
A failure to diagnose a rare disease can lead to a worsened condition. A medical malpractice attorney representing a harmed patient will need to successfully demonstrate that such a mistake constituted a failure by the practitioner to exhibit the requisite standard of care.