Children’s drugs proposals welcomed

Experts in paediatric medicine have welcomed proposals for new legislation to force pharmaceutical companies to design and create drugs specifically for children.

The European Parliament has approved a new regulation which both offers financial incentives to companies to carry out trials specifically on children, and penalises them if they do not do so.

The EU wide law, which will be implemented by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in UK, is expected to come into force late next year.

The Evidence-based Child Health Unit, designed to co-ordinate research in the area and backed by the Department of Health, has already been set up at the University of Liverpool.

Its director, Rosalynd Smyth, said the current situation in children’s medicine was “very unsatisfactory”.

“Many of the medicines for adults that may also benefit children have not been tested, as clinicians tend to be more cautious with children and are likely to not use medicines which may actually benefit children,” she said.

Smyth added that the legislation was “very exciting because of the long term benefits that they will bring to children’s health”.

Sharon Conroy, a lecturer in paediatric clinical pharmacy at the University of Nottingham, said specific research of the impact on drugs on children was “vital”.

Sara Coakley, spokesperson for Medicines Health Regulatory Authority, said that a medicines children research network was already being established in the UK that will collaborate with other paediatric research networks across the EU when the regulation is adopted.

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