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The following papers have been brought together in a mini - symposium describing the challenges facing Canadian patients, academic institutions, clinicians, and regulators in the development of an improved process for clinical investigation of orphan drugs . Commitment to creation of a national orphan drug framework was announced by the federal Minister of Health on October 3, 2012 , triggering an active discussion that continued throughout 2013. A process of early engagement with key stakeholders included two meetings bringing together researchers, clinicians, regulators, interested organizations, and patient/family representatives. These took pl ace in Montreal in February 2013 with a focus on rare genetic disorders and in Ottawa in May 2013 with a focus on oncology.