There’s no doubt the “pricing crisis,” has taken a heavy toll on the reputation of the biopharmaceutical industry. The very industry that strives to improve and save peoples’ lives is at the center of a maelstrom of complaints about affordability and access to medicines.

Over the last two years, price tags on medicines for chronic or infectious diseases have drawn fierce scrutiny. Now, the focus may be shifting to drugs aimed at populations of 200,000 or fewer—the standard definition of rare or “orphan” diseases. The shift comes as the biopharma industry is dramatically boosting innovation in this area. Of the total number of novel drug approvals in 2016, nearly half (nine out of 22) were for rare diseases, according to FDA data.

Medically speaking, the explosion in orphan-designated therapies has led to miraculous results—a hopeful signal for rare disease patients and their families who previously had few options. Yet, our proprietary research shows that negative coverage on the cost of rare medicines has increased nearly five-fold since 2012. Critical news coverage and Congressional letters already prompted one manufacturer to “hit the pause button” on its launch of a new drug.

This content is repurposed from PharmExec.