The economics of pediatric formulation development for off-patent drugs

  • Milne C
  • Bruss J
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Background: Many drugs currently used in children have never been adequately studied in rigorous scientific trials. Although these medications can still be prescribed in the pediatric setting, they are considered "off-label" because they are not specifically approved for use in children. The role of the Economics Working Group (EWG) within the Pediatric Formulation Initiative (PFI) of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is to identify economic barriers and to propose possible mechanisms to create cost-effective and appropriately formulated products for off-patent pediatric drugs and to ensure their distribution and availability. Objective: The purpose of this article was to briefly outline the EWG's considerations and recommendations on these topics. Methods: Information for this article was gathered from the proceedings of a PFI workshop sponsored by the NICHD, held December 6 and 7, 2005, in Bethesda, Maryland. Other information was based on: the authors' unpublished and published research as well as personal communication with members of the EWG; a comprehensive search of Web sites, publications, and publicly accessible databases of the European Medicines Agency, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the NICHD; and the databases and publications available from the Louis Lasagna Library of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (Boston, Massachusetts). Results: The US Congress has attempted to remedy the lack of incentives to develop pediatric drugs by passing 2 key pieces of legislation. After >10 years, this US pediatric initiative has stimulated a great deal of pediatric drug research, and similar initiatives have been emulated in Europe and proposed in Japan. Although the initiative is generally considered successful in the United States, an incentive gap exists that still hinders pediatric drug development. It results from a series of factors, including: (1) a relatively small market size (

Author-supplied keywords

  • clinical trials
  • incentives
  • pediatric
  • research and development

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  • Christopher Paul Milne

  • Jon B. Bruss

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