Enabling access to better pediatric medicines on World Children’s Day

As of 2015, the decline in infant and child mortality is slowing, but research into new life-saving tools targeting children is still lacking. This is partly due to the complexity of conducting studies including the youngest age groups.

Children cannot swallow tablets or capsules, often cannot tolerate the taste of liquid medicines and metabolize medicines differently as they develop and grow. Pediatric medications must be palatable, cut, crumbly, dispersible (ie, dissolve quickly in water), chewable, sprinkled on food, or mixed with breast milk. Appropriate medicines to save and improve the lives of infants and children are often non-existent, unavailable or of poor quality, especially in low-resource settings.

Even with significant progress in child health, with 6 million fewer children under the age of 5 dying in 2016 than in 1990, urgent action is needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 3, for good health and well-being, and the associated goal of achieving universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030.

GAP-f network partners work together to remove barriers to the development and delivery of appropriate, quality, accessible and affordable medicines for children and contribute to UHC. GAP-f works by fostering collaboration among stakeholders to identify gaps, prioritize needs, and accelerate research, development, and product delivery to improve and save children’s lives.

Below are key GAP-f events and documents being published on the occasion of World Children’s Day:

Exploring innovative approaches for faster access to pediatric antimicrobial resistance drugs

Our final 2023 webinar in the GAP-f #BetterMeds4Kids webinar series focuses on exploring innovative approaches for faster access to pediatric antimicrobial resistance (AMR) drugs. The webinar will take place on November 20, 2023 at 14:00 CET. Click here for more information.

Brief description of the product Cefiderocol

Despite tremendous progress, preventable and treatable infectious diseases remain the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age. Bacterial infections, especially pneumonia, neonatal sepsis and gastrointestinal infections, are the leading cause of infectious mortality in this age group worldwide. This problem is further exacerbated by the global rise in antimicrobial resistance.

WHO conducted an exercise to develop a priority list of antibiotics for pediatric drug optimization (PADO), with all products included that have approved indications for children but lack age-appropriate formulations.

Of those on the list, the most work so far has focused on cefiderocol, which is the subject of a new product summary documenting the status of clinical trials, regulatory approval and research priorities to further advance efforts to make it available to children. .

Priority drugs for neglected tropical diseases

Due to limited financial incentives, few new drugs are being developed for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Several NTDs disproportionately affect children compared to adults. As is the case with most diseases affecting adults and children, the burden on children is compounded by their lack of inclusion in clinical trials, as well as the lack of age-appropriate dosing regimens and formulations.

To help address these challenges, WHO has developed a PADO priority list for schistosomiasis, human African trypanosomiasis, scabies, onchocerciasis and visceral leishmaniasis.

Analysis of the research and development process for childhood cancer

Childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death among children worldwide, accounting for over 100,000 deaths each year. Despite major advances in cancer research and development (R&D), few clinical trials have addressed the effect of investigational medicine on tumor biology in children, particularly those living in low- and middle-income countries.

To map gaps and barriers, WHO has developed a summary of research and development for childhood cancer, showing where more investment is needed, using data from the WHO Global Observatory for Health Research and Development (GOHRD).

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Image Source : www.who.int

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