At long last, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a law on November 19, 2003, requiring that medicines for children be tested to be sure they are safe and effective for kids. The Senate approved the measure in July.
Most people are surprised to learn that most medicines for children have only been tested for adults. In the last year alone, over 110 new medicines have come on the market without pediatric testing. But children are not just smaller adults. The hormones and systems of their developing bodies often respond differently to medications.
This legislation, long endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and by many pediatricians everywhere, will mean that we will have scientific research to suggest what medicines to give, at what doses, to which children, at what ages.
Children deserve better than relying on even very educated guesses, when knowledge is within our reach.
My deep thanks to Congress for passing this Pediatric Research Equity Act, and to the medicine manufacturers for the effort and money it will take to comply with this law and do better for children. Hurray!