(Reuters) - Rare diseases are a growing focus for drug companies, with prices for some treatments for ultra-rare conditions running into hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Don't miss these Health stories
More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?
Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.
- Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
- Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
- CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
- What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says
- More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?
The following are among the top-selling treatments for extremely rare disorders:
Soliris, Alexion Pharmaceuticals
- Treatment for a progressive disease that destroys red blood cells and a second condition that damages the kidney and other vital organs.
Forecast 2012 sales: $1.1 billion.
- Drug to help break down fatty clumps that build up in cells in patients with Gaucher disease, damaging the liver, spleen and bones.
Forecast 2012 sales: $830 million
- Treats Pompe disease, an inherited neuromuscular disorder that causes progressive muscle weakness.
Forecast 2012 sales: $580 million
- Treatment for Hunter syndrome, a genetic disease that primarily affects males, causing serious physical and mental problems.
Forecast 2012 sales: $495 million
- Fabry disease treatment designed to counter damaging symptoms including kidney failure, heart problems and stroke.
Forecast 2012 sales: $352 million
- Prevents dangerous swelling and painful attacks in people with hereditary angioedema.
Forecast 2012 sales: $330 million
- Treatment for Gaucher disease.
Forecast 2012 sales: $310 million
Kalydeco, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
- For treating a rare form of the lung disease cystic fibrosis in patients with a particular genetic mutation.
Forecast 2012 sales: $260 million
Naglazyme, Biomarin Pharmaceutical
- Treatment for Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome, which causes short stature, stiff joints and breathing problems.
Forecast 2012 sales: $233 million
Source: sales figures based on analyst forecasts compiled by Thomson Reuters
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by David Stamp)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp