Patient-Reported Outcomes in Orphan Drug Labels Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration [Editor's Choice]



In recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the need to assess treatment benefit from the patient’s perspective. The extent of patient-reported outcome (PRO) data included in labeling for rare disease treatment is largely unknown. The objective of this study was to review trends over time for PRO-based labeling granted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for orphan drugs.

Study Design

Review of FDA package inserts.


Products included in this analysis were all new molecular entities (NMEs) and biologic license applications (BLAs) with orphan designations approved by the FDA from 2002 through 2017. For identified products, package inserts were reviewed to determine the number and type of PRO claim(s) granted, endpoint status, and PRO measure named. Two trends were analyzed: (1) over all years 2002 to 2017 and (2) 2002 to 2017 stratified into 3 periods (before draft FDA PRO guidance [2006], between draft and final guidance release, and after final guidance [2009] release.


A total of 156 NMEs and BLAs with orphan designations were approved between 2002 and 2017. Of these, 13 products (8.3%) had PRO-based labeling, and 7 of 13 were symptom-related. The percent of orphan drugs approved with PRO-based labeling between 2002 and 2005, 2006 and 2008, and 2009 and 2017 was 0, 10.5, and 9.9, respectively.


In FDA-approved labeling for orphan therapies, PRO measures used as primary and secondary endpoints increased after draft FDA PRO guidance release but remained relatively low thereafter. It is important to understand barriers to PRO measure use to ensure that treatments capture perspectives of patients with rare diseases.


Yoon Duk Hong Ester Villalonga-Olives Eleanor M. Perfetto

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