Medicines for children licensed by the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products

A. Ceci, M. Felisi, M. Catapano, P. Baiardi, L. Cipollina, S. Ravera, S. Bagnulo, S. Reggio, G. Rondini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the number and the characteristics of medicines approved for children in Europe by the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA) and whether the paediatric studies supporting the authorisation were in accordance with the Note for Guidance on the Clinical Investigation of Medicinal Products in children (CPMP/ICH/2711/99). We also considered any possible difference between the EMEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) paediatric medicines evaluations. Methods: We examined the drugs authorised by the EMEA through the centralised procedure from January 1995 to September 2001 deriving information from the "European Medicines - Database" (EMD) set up in 1998 by the Italian Group for Pharmacoeconomic Studies (GISF) and sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Health. The analysis of paediatric data has been managed by experts belonging to the Clinical Pharmacology Working Group of the Italian Paediatric Society. The following parameters were assessed: active substance, year of approval, anatomical therapeutic and chemical (ATC) code, therapeutic indications, age for which the drug is authorised, interest to children and paediatric studies supporting a paediatric authorisation. European Public Assessment Reports (EPARs) were considered as reference sources. Results: The median percentage of drugs authorised for children from 1995 to 2001 (September) is 35% of the total of commercially available drugs; only 16 medicines have been approved for children under 2 years of age (11%), ten of these being vaccines. Medicines for children shared out 9 ATC classes, 24 belonging to the J- (anti-infective agents) -ATC class. Thirty-nine medicines were authorised on the basis of at least one clinical trial (27 phase III, 6 phase II, 6 phase I) while eight active substances have been licensed without any paediatric investigation. Conclusions: Under the EMEA centralised procedure, several active substances have been licensed for children. Consequently serious and life-threatening diseases as AIDS and diabetes are now treatable, in a legal framework overcoming the orphan status of the past years. Despite the reported encouraging results, the number of drugs devoted to children remain low and important ATC classes, as L-(oncology) or N-(neurology), are still 'orphans' of innovative medicines. At the same time few medicinal products are specifically studied in children. Consequently, more efforts have to be made to increase the number of drugs assessed and licensed for the paediatric population, and manufacturers should be required to supply data on the effects of new drugs in children when the products are expected to offer a benefit over existing therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-500
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Children
  • Clinical studies
  • European Community
  • Licensed medicines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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