Passionate about solutions for patients with rare diseases


1 in 20 people will live with rare disease at some time in their life*.

Johan Strömquist CEO NDA says: “There are more than 6 000 identified, untreated rare diseases in the world. A lot has been done in recent years to address this by regulators and innovators but for many it is still not enough.”

At NDA much of the work we do go into supporting companies working to address this. We care passionately about this work and about getting treatments to the patients affected. Rare Disease Day is our opportunity to show this to the world and to promote the vital work that is going on in this space by so many passionate patients, physicians and scientists.

What is Rare Disease Day?

Rare Disease Day was first launched by Eurordis and its Council of National Alliances in 2008 with the goal to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. 1 in 20 people will live with rare disease at some time in their life but despite this there is no cure for the majority of rare diseases and many go undiagnosed.

For 20 years the NDA Group has supported pharmaceutical and biotech companies around the world with strategic regulatory guidance across a range of diseases. Increasingly more companies have been trying to solve the puzzles for a diversity of untreated rare diseases. NDA has been there every step of the way.

Laurie Smaldone Alsup, MD, CSO and CMO of NDA says: “I believe we are still at the beginning of addressing rare diseases. With new scientific and technical advances every day we will be turning a corner where many more novel treatments will be discovered to address a range of difficult to treat disorders.”

She continues: “For me Rare disease day is a call to arms to create awareness of the continued need to address serious rare disorders to improve and extend patients’ lives.”

The theme of 2019 – Bridging health and social care

The theme for this 2019 Rare Disease Day is ‘Bridging health and social care’ For most people living with a rare disease, as well as their family members or carers, the reality of daily life can include any combination of the following: collecting and taking medicines, attending appointments, participating in physical therapy, using specialist equipment and accessing various social and community support services and respite care. Managing these care-related tasks alongside their usual daily activities such as work, school and leisure time can be challenging.

In support of patients with rare disease

2018 Rare Disease Day theme, ‘Patient Involvement in Research’, helped to underpin the importance of including patients in the drug development process.

Dr. Markku Toivonen, MD, Scientific Director at NDA, former CHMP member and Chairman of EMA’s Scientific Advice Working Party comments:
“The development of patient advocacy and the involvement of patients in the development and regulatory process has truly been game changing. At NDA we take great pride in helping to empower patient advocates through training in regulatory science and medical research with Eurordis, the European Organisation for Rare Diseases. ”

Markku continues: “Personally, it has been a privilege to participate in Eurordis Summer School for patient experts, advocates and researchers annually over the past 10 years as one of the trainers. Based on the candid feedback Eurordis has received over the years, the enthusiastic and highly motivated participants with varied backgrounds have benefited from the interactions with peers. They have returned home with new tools to help them in their endeavors and to navigate in the maze of science, medicines development, licensing and real-world challenges. It has been a pleasure to meet many of them again over the years, and to see how they have contributed at various levels from new medicinal product development to regulatory authority activities and overcoming the ultimate hurdle: access to treatment.”