• Sweden's news in English

Drugs "to be tested on children"

The Local · 25 Nov 2004, 19:56

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

"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.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available