Developing Paediatric Medicines: Identifying the Needs and Recognizing the Challenges

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2007 Aug;59(8):1043-55. doi: 10.1211/jpp.59.8.0001.


There is a significant need for research and development into paediatric medicines. Only a small fraction of the drugs marketed and utilized as therapeutic agents in children have been clinically evaluated. The majority of marketed drugs are either not labelled, or inadequately labelled, for use in paediatric patients. The absence of suitable medicines or critical safety and efficacy information poses significant risks to a particularly vulnerable patient population. However, there are many challenges associated with developing medicines for the paediatric population and this review paper is intended to highlight these. The paediatric population is made up of a wide range of individuals of substantially varied physical size, weight and stage of physiological development. Experimentation on children is considered by many to be unethical, resulting in difficulties in obtaining critical safety data. Clinical trials are subject to detailed scrutiny by the various regulatory bodies who have recently recognized the need for pharmaceutical companies to invest in paediatric medicines. The costs associated with paediatric product development could result in poor or negative return on investment and so incentives have been proposed by the EU and US regulatory bodies. Additionally, some commonly used excipients may be unsuitable for use in children; and some dosage forms may be undesirable to the paediatric population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / ethics
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Drug Approval
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Evaluation / economics
  • Drug Evaluation / ethics
  • Drug Evaluation / methods*
  • Drug Industry
  • Drug Labeling
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug
  • Pediatrics / methods*