In recent years, the situation regarding medicines for children has become a focus of discussion, and this discussion is moving in a direction that offers potential for solutions. For a long time, one of the main criticisms was that too few medicines developed specially for children or safe, high-quality medicines adapted to their needs were available. The general lack of reliable data specific to the age groups involved was a further point of criticism. For want of alternatives, medicines are often used in the paediatric setting that have been neither investigated nor authorised for this purpose. At the same time, there has been great reticence about research involving children, who are seen as particularly vulnerable individuals.
Progress in medicines for children
Nowadays, efforts are being made worldwide to bring more child-appropriate medicines onto the market and obtain authorisation for them. In 2007, regulations under EU law entered into force in Europe with the aim of improving the range of medicines available for paediatric use. Since the revised Therapeutic Products Act came into force in 2019, the Swiss pharmaceutical industry has also been able to submit additional data on safe and effective use in children to Swissmedic when requesting authorisation for a new medicinal product.
A national catalogue of recommendations for dosing medicinal products for children (SwissPedDose) has been available to healthcare professionals in Switzerland since 2018. Further obligations and incentives to develop medicines for paediatric use have also been introduced. Their aim is to facilitate the development and accessibility of medicines for use in children. A further aim is to ensure that the medicinal products used to treat children are developed through ethically sound and high-quality research activities and are approved specifically for paediatric use. And finally, there are plans to improve the information available on the use of medicinal products in children. The intention is to achieve all these objectives without subjecting the paediatric population to unnecessary clinical trials and without delaying the approval of a medicinal product for other age groups.