• Sweden edition
 

Drugs "to be tested on children"

Published: 25 Nov 2004 19:56 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Nov 2004 19:56 GMT+01:00

Aftonbladet's headline could well have caused initial alarm in some quarters - and thrown animal rights groups into confusion - but this week's papers agree that a new EU law demanding proper clinical trials for paediatric medicine is good news.

Many drugs used to treat children in hospital are either not licensed for use on children or are prescribed outside the terms of their product licence. A newly published survey of paediatric wards in five European hospitals found that two-thirds of children admitted there were prescribed drugs that were unlicensed or 'off-label'.

"A small, and diminishing, proportion of the medicine which is prescribed to children has gone through clinical trials on children," said Professor Anders Rane at the department of clinical pharmacology at Karolinska Institutet to Svenska Dagbladet.

"That means that a lot of medicine is prescribed blindly, with no awareness of how it will influence the child."

The new proposal for a regulation, adopted by the European Commission in September, is designed to increase the EU-wide availability of high quality medicines made specifically for children.

About 100 million babies, toddlers, children and adolescents make up the 'paediatric population' of the EU-25, accounting for over 20 per cent of the EU's total population. Yet the European Commission argues that more than half of the medicines used to treat children in the EU have neither been specifically tested, nor authorised for use in children.

The European Network for Drug Investigation in Children looked at prescribing for 624 children admitted to paediatric units over four weeks in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.

They found that 39% of the 2,262 drug prescriptions given to children were 'off-label', with some children, of course, receiving multiple prescriptions. Over two-thirds (67%) of the 624 children studied received unlicensed or off-label drugs.

The new law will force medical companies to begin testing medicines intended for children, on children.

Professor Anders Rane told Svenska Dagbladet that the reason that drugs have not been tested widely on children in the past is partly to do with ethics - but mostly to do with cash.

"The main reason is that there is no economic incentive for the drugs companies to test medicine on children," said Rane.

However, a few months ago a US study showed that teenagers who were prescribed a certain anti-depressant were twice as likely to commit suicide. The Commission has concluded that market forces alone do not sufficiently stimulate the development of medicines that take into account the specific needs of children.

According to SvD, doctors back dealing with the problem by legislative means, comprising obligations, rewards and incentives.

Björn Wettergren, a consultant at the Academic Children's hospital in Uppsala told the paper that the medicine to be made available to children is currently decided by district committees, while doses are a fraction of the adult dose depending on the child's weight.

"That's not good," said Wettergren, "since children have a completely different metabolism and can experience different side effects to adults."

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Aftonbladet, Sharon Conroy, et al., "Survey of Unlicensed and Off Label Drug Use in Paediatric Wards in European Countries," British Medical Journal, January 8, 2000 euractiv.com

Lysanne Sizoo

Lysanne Sizoo is a certified Counsellor, specialising in bereavement, fertility and cultural assimilation issues. She also runs a support and discussion group for English speaking women. You can contact her on sizoo@swipnet.se, or 08 717 3769. More information on www.sizoo.nu.

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Eco-conscious Swedes in hen house trend
Chickens photo: Shutterstock.

Eco-conscious Swedes in hen house trend

Fresh eggs from the hen house at the bottom of the garden is the latest eco-friendly fad being pursued by Swedish urbanites ready to run the risk of a little neighbourhood friction to keep their Saturday pancakes organic. READ () »

Football fan father leaves baby in sweltering car
Parked car photo: Shutterstock.

Football fan father leaves baby in sweltering car

A baby was saved from a car parked in the stifling heat outside of a football stadium in western Sweden on Sunday with the child's father believed to be at the game. READ () »

Police launch probe after Easter ferry smash
A coastguard vessel involved in the rescue operation. Photo: TT

Police launch probe after Easter ferry smash

Stockholm police are investigating criminal negligence in connection with a crash involving a small taxi vessel and a giant Finland-bound ferry on Friday which left three people needing rescue from the icy waters of Stockholm's archipelago. READ () »

Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is planning to put vegetarian meatballs on the menu in an attempt to cut down on its carbon footprint, the company has announced. READ () »

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

The Swedish government has proposed scrapping the 25-year span for repaying student loans, by suggesting those who attend higher education should keep paying the money back well into retirement. READ () »

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage
The crayfish cage in the picture is not the one mentioned in the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage

Police in eastern Sweden have launched a preliminary investigation of animal cruelty after two puppies were found drowned in a crayfish cage. READ () »

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat
Rickard Rundgren Björk of the coastguard services speaks to the media after the rescue operation on April 19th 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin /TT

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat

Three Saturday morning sailors had a lucky escape after their small boat collided and sank after it crashed into a cruise ship whilst sailing in the Stockholm archipelago. READ () »

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK
Sofie Marie Jansson. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK

British police have found the missing Swedish girl Sofie Jansson in London, exactly a week after she was last seen, with authorities saying she is doing well. READ () »

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Sweden's opposition party has stepped up its efforts to secure the pensioner vote by pledging to lower taxes for the elderly and make higher earners pay more. READ () »

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend
Showan Shattak pictured in Malmö before his attack. Photo: Facebook

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend

The 25-year-old man, whose stabbing by neo-Nazis sparked mass demonstrations across Sweden, has made a strong recovery in hospital and took to social media to thank supporters for campaigning against fascism. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
Advertisement:
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

722
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com