Date of Award

Spring 6-9-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Geri Mason

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Bruce Baker


pharmaceutical, orphan drugs, corporate social responsibility


This paper explores the decision faced by a firm to invest in an orphan drug development project. Two primary areas of concern are considered: financial and ethical. In order to properly understand these two areas, the paper first summarizes the current development landscape for non-orphan and orphan drugs. Once the basic development structure is established, a discussion regarding the differences in the Net Present Value equation for a non-orphan and orphan product may occur. Once the differences in the financial decision are established, the paper will discuss the ethical considerations surrounding drug development and drug pricing. The combination of the financial model and the ethical guidelines for drug pricing form the argument for an increase in social corporate responsibility in the drug development industry to increase treatment accessibility for patients of rare diseases.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program.