The Council of Canadian Academies releases a new evidence-based report, Improving Medicines for Children in Canada, on September 18th, 2014. This report comes at the request of Health Canada, which asked the Council to assemble a multidisciplinary expert panel to provide an independent and authoritative assessment on the state of research and regulations leading to the approval of medicines — both pharmaceuticals and biologics, including vaccines — for children, in Canada and abroad.
Children who are ill need treatment that is appropriate for the age and stage of their developing bodies and minds, and medicines designed for adults may not be suitable for these needs. However, adult conditions are often prioritized over children’s therapies and children have historically been neglected in drug research and development and in Canadian regulations. Including children in research is an important way of reducing inequalities in health and improving the evidence base to inform medical practice.
The report, Improving Medicines for Children in Canada, focuses on the ethical development of safe and effective medicines for children; examines gaps in the current state of knowledge regarding the relationships among clinical pharmacology, human development, and pediatric drug investigations; and identifies opportunities for strengthening knowledge of safe and effective pediatric medicines. This in-depth assessment may serve as a tool for informing research programs and policy-making for governments, ministries, and interested researchers. It may also be relevant to a variety of stakeholders concerned with child health and science-based issues of significant public health importance and to individual health care providers. The report will also be launched in both official languages.