Currently in Canada, sick children often do not have access to medication adapted to their needs. The drug formulations available for them are made for adults — those are often used to treat children, which isn’t ideal. Children are not small adults. They metabolize medicines differently from us.
It leaves us to wonder: why aren’t pharmaceutical companies producing more pediatric drug formulations? The answer in Canada is that the government makes it difficult and disadvantageous to manufacture such drugs, meaning families must resort to more difficult and hazardous options.
The lack of formulations adapted for kids means that health professionals must perform what is usually known as “compounding.” This procedure consists of adjusting adult doses of medication by crushing tablets into powder or opening capsules, and then combining them with liquid. Although many have become accustomed to preparing medications this way, alternatives do exist.
Some compounding is left entirely up to the parents once they leave the hospital with their child. This can not only lead to dosage errors in preparation, but also add pressure for the parents, who must carefully prepare a delicate medical solution with no prior training.
Compounding prepared by parents or in pharmacies are often the alternative to approved medications for children. Even when properly prepared, these compounded products may be less stable and less precise than Health Canada approved manufactured drugs.
These preparations often have the disadvantage of uncovering the taste of the active ingredient in the medication, normally formulated to mask the bitter taste. This means that when drugs are compounded for children, they can taste awful. Kids aren’t mature enough to understand that these drugs are beneficial for their body even if they taste bad, so it’s often difficult to administer the compounded medication because kids refuse to take it.
What if you could give your child their medicine without them screaming, crying and throwing a tantrum? What if you could take care for your kids’ health with a ready-to-use medication without any further manipulations? What if there were a single, simple, standardized way to administer medications to your kids?
That would be possible if drugs could be made in child-friendly forms by pharmaceutical companies from the start; that’s our goal.
Developing pediatric drug formulations
Is this an issue everywhere in the world? Turns out it isn’t. Canada is far behind. Europe, already advanced in pharmaceuticals, has managed to make children’s medications more readily available by simplifying the endless commercialization process (which can take up to 14 years for one drug!). Since meds pass through medical trials in Europe in order to be approved, many of them have been proven to be safe and effective for kids.
Nevertheless, Canada does not consider the outcome of these foreign clinical trials as valid, making the drug approval system unnecessarily complicated. If Europe has gone to the trouble of accurately and properly testing these drugs, why not save time and resources by accepting these foreign studies?