Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day Quick Facts - EU

2023 Date28 February 2023
2024 Date29 February 2024
Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day History

Rare Disease Day seeks to raise awareness about uncommon diseases which often lack treatment and accessible drugs. A disease or disorder is defined as rare when it affects less than 1 in 2000 people. This day aims to inform policy makers, public authorities, researchers, and health professionals about the needs of those affected by rare diseases. Typically, there are no available cures for rare diseases. Many often go undiagnosed as well.

Rare Disease Day was established in 2008 by the European Organisation for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS). It is observed annually on the last day of February.

Rare Disease Day Facts

  • According to EURORDIS.org, there are more than 6000 rare diseases in the world. 80% of them are of genetic origin and are either chronic or life-threatening.
  • 300 million people around the world are affected by rare diseases according to rarediseaseday.org.
  • Rare diseases and disorders are usually treated with orphan drugs. Orphan drugs are medicinal products intended for use in cases of serious rare diseases or disorders. They are called orphan because the pharmaceutical industry has little interest in developing products for a small number of patients. As such, it is up to governments and rare disease organisations to advocate for the development and production of rare treatments.

Rare Disease Day Top Events and Things to Do


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