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Orphan Drug Prices Threatened in Austerity-Minded Europe: Health

Treatments for rare diseases are hot properties for drugmakers, who covet the medicines for their exclusive markets, tax breaks and through-the-roof prices. Now that’s changing.

This year, the Netherlands demanded cuts in the prices of enzyme-replacement therapies including Sanofi’s Myozyme, which costs 700,000 euros ($909,000). Ireland won a “significant” reduction in the cost of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Kalydeco for cystic fibrosis, and the U.K. rejected a recommendation to expand the use of Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s drug Soliris, which is prescribed for two blood disorders.