Accessibility Links

Why speciality and rare-disease drugs are the next big thing in Medical Sales

Posted on: 31 Aug
In an industry as vast and complex as pharmaceuticals, it can be easy to lose track of all the products making it onto the market. However a trend that is quickly emerging worldwide is the rise of drugs aimed to help those with rare diseases. With the sale of these ‘speciality’ rare-disease drugs, forecasted to grow by 10.5% a year to reach $176bn in sales by 2020, many companies are quickly waking up to the potential that these drugs can have in the marketplace, opening up new career opportunities for many.

Rare diseases may not be as rare as you think 

Though there are over 7,000 known rare diseases, according to Rare Disease UK, less than 95% of them have an approved drug developed to treat them. However, the number of patents being registered by companies for new drugs is growing rapidly; in 2015, the European Commission approved more medicines for rare diseases than it ever had before, and researchers for the University of Liverpool have found that companies marketing drugs for rare diseases are five times more profitable than other drug companies.

Why has it suddenly become so popular? Though Orphan Drug regulation has been around for year s- in the U.S., the Orphan Drug Act was published in 1983, with the European Union following suit in 1999 - the market was previously deemed too unprofitable to function due to a small consumer base and the high costs of developing products. To stimulate investment, these acts offered pharmaceutical companies unprecedented benefits, amongst them ten years of market exclusivity for a new patented rare disease drug- effectively allowing them to set their own price for any drugs they release onto the market- scientific advice, and access to EU funded research.

In the years that have followed, leaps in medical technology have made it possible to create and market more rare-disease drugs than ever before. With leaps forward in science, and CRISPR gene-editing on the horizon, companies are finding it easier than ever before to get involved with the rare disease market and develop new drugs that they can be patented and sold. Though biotech companies led the trend at first, big pharma is getting involved too and industry investment is soaring. As a result, this vastly expanding market is creating a huge number of new jobs, meaning that enthusiastic and passionate people can get involved whether their interests lie in R&D, and making the next breakthrough, or in sales.

Get involved

A career in rare disease drugs can not only be exciting, but rewarding. Rare Disease UK estimates that as many as 30 million people across the EU suffer from a rare disease, and being a part of the process that brings relief to these people can be a massive source of job satisfaction. This is especially true as those working within rare diseases have a much higher rate of patient interaction when creating, testing and marketing their new drug. Indeed, employees often meet with support communities in order to raise awareness for these diseases and raise funding for further research; a good example of one of these fund raisers is the Ice Bucket Challenge which went viral across the world some years ago and raised $100 million in a month.   

Whilst the industry is also extremely lucrative, it’s also an excellent job opportunity for many people wanting to try something new: from charity work to talented young specialists, there’s something for everybody, including those in Medical Sales, with representatives commanding unlimited market access to the drug they are selling. 

With the rare disease market expanding rapidly, now’s the perfect time to get involved. Browse our list of vacancies here, or find out more about what we do at IQVIA here