Prioritising rare ‘orphan diseases’ of the medical world

Mitochondrial disease is one of the orphan diseases – an ailment that has been ignored by the medical and pharmaceutical industries because of its rarity. There is no money to be made from finding a cure for it.

Governments also allocate little resources to patients with rare diseases as can be seen in the lack of funding for equipment to diagnose mitochondrial disease in Hong Kong.

“Are the lives of rare disease patients less valuable than those with common diseases?” said Christina Hellmann, chairman of the Joshua Hellmann Foundation for Orphan Disease which advocates the rights of rare disease patients.