Brussels, 02 Sep 2005
Members of the European Parliament are to vote on 6 September on a Commission proposal advocating the amendment of regulations on medicinal products for paediatric use. MEPs are expected to endorse an amendment calling for the creation of an EU programme for research into medicines for children, to be called MICE - medicines investigation for the children of Europe.
'For too long Europe's children have been waiting, and parents' and patients' organisations have been calling, for special paediatric medicines. Let's not disappoint them,' wrote Environment Committee rapporteur and French MEP Françoise Grossetête in her report on paediatric medicines.
When children are ill, they are often prescribed smaller doses of medicines developed for adults. However, the drugs are absorbed and eliminated differently by children, and side effects are not uncommon. Few pharmaceutical companies produce drugs aimed specifically at children because the clinical trials are more complicated, and the time taken to perfect the drugs is longer.
The MEPs' proposed amendment would see the establishment of a network of researchers and research centres, under the auspices of the European Medicines Agency, which would ensure that duplication is avoided. The Environment Committee would also like the agency to compile an inventory of therapeutic needs within two years, and to establish priorities for research.
During the parliamentary debate on 6 September, MEPs will also address a proposal aimed at encouraging the pharmaceutical industry to develop more medicines for children: a six-month extension to the validity period of patents and supplementary protection certificates.