An unmet medical need refers to a health condition or disease for which no existing or adequate treatment options are available. It signifies a gap in medical knowledge, therapies, or interventions that can adequately address a particular disease or condition. If a treatment does exist, it is ineffective or not of a significant therapeutic advantage.
For example, those with Alzheimer’s disease have no available cure, with medication only hoping to slow the progression of the disease. This lack of treatment showcases an unmet medical need for this patient population.
In general, an unmet medical need’s priority is often related to its disease burden, expressed in disability-adjusted life years (DALY). The greater the burden, the more critical the unmet medical need is and the higher priority it receives.