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More TV dramas highlighting patients with rare diseases

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ABC News has an interesting story this morning on the depiction of rare, or orphan, disorders on TV medical dramas. It quotes Stephen Groft, PharmD, director of the Office of Rare Disease Research at the National Institutes of Health, as saying that "the level of interest in rare diseases [among show producers] seems to have increased... There have been more and more rare diseases being talked about these days." And it gathers opinion on the issue from numerous patient advocates:

Mary Dunkle, vice president of communications at [the National Organization for Rare Disorders], said that rare disease portrayals on these television shows are exciting, partly because the exposure could lead to research funding and raise awareness in the medical community, but also because patients can feel isolated with a rare disease, and they want others to understand their condition.

"It really seems like producers and show writers are really trying to do a good job in getting the facts straight on rare disease," said Dunkle. "In my experiences, it seems that they often think of themselves as educators rather than entertainers."

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