The End of “Mini-Me” Medicine
Pediatric drug formulation has historically lagged behind the adult counterpart. Have government regulations had the right impact?
Andrew Parker |
Many a proud parent has affectionately proclaimed their child to be a “mini me,” but within the field of pediatric drug development this affirmation is far from the truth. Children are not simply small adults – they need customized medicines to reflect their differing requirements. Unfortunately, the lack of tailored pediatric medicine on the market means physicians have to consider them as such, often going off-label by crushing up tablets designed for adults to create smaller dosages for someone proportionately smaller.
Compared with adult drug development, why has progress in pediatric medicine not kept pace? The unfortunate truth is that it all comes down to money. Market revenue is much lower for pediatric drugs because of the market size and the fact that fewer children fall ill compared with adults – a very unattractive investment prospect for pharma companies. Drug development is also costlier because of more complex pharmacokinetic processes caused by the size and weight differences that reflect a child’s age. Drug absorption, metabolism and elimination are just a few of the factors that need to be tweaked.
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