Pediatric health, medicine, and therapeutics
Claire E Wainwright1,2
1Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane and Queensland, Queensland, Australia; 2Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
The idea of children as small adults with health care needs that can be managed by extrapolation from adult studies has now largely been abandoned. We now recognize that adult health and disease are closely linked to childhood factors and the critical and ethical importance of clinical research in pediatrics is increasingly being recognized. While funding and output from pediatric clinical research continues to lag behind health research in adults, particularly in the area of therapeutics, the last decade has thankfully seen a dramatic increase in the number of pediatric studies and particularly randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs). Since the 1997 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Modernization Act in the United States (US) and the subsequent changes in drug registration regulatory systems in the US and Europe, there has been a huge increase in the number of pediatric studies sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. In the United Kingdom, the Medicine for Children’s Research Network was established in 2005 to address the lack of clinical studies in pediatrics. Over the first five years they reported an exciting increase in the number of high quality clinical studies and on their website they have a current portfolio of over 200 pediatric studies, half of which are RCTs and half are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. Other countries particularly across Europe are also establishing similar programs.
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