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(2011; 23 pages)
(Better Medicines for Children - Make Medicines Child Size).
Improving child survival and caring for children affected by major diseases are global priorities included in Millennium Development Goals four and six. The need for better access to appropriate essential medicines for children is well documented and recognized as an integral element to achieving development goals.
In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) began to lay the foundation for improving access to essential medicines for children by bringing together interested parties to share information and identify areas where more work was needed. While the pharmaceutical industry had done very little research and development of these medicines prior to this time, a small number of governments and civil society organizations had taken the first steps to bring about change.
A number of catalytic events and growing global interest advanced WHO’s action to develop the Better Medicines for Children programme of work. Barriers limiting better medicines for children were identified, such as research and development gaps and factors limiting access and use, and recommendations were made to remove them. In 2007, the World Health Assembly passed resolution WHA60.20 calling for specific actions from WHO and Member States to improve access to better medicines for children. Later that year, WHO published the first WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for Children and launched make medicines child size, an international advocacy campaign to raise awareness and promote global action.
Since that time WHO has improved information sharing and stimulated action among interested international organizations, governments, industry, researchers, health-care providers, professional associations, academia, and civil society. Key guidance tools and documents to assist in the development and better use of medicines in children have been developed such as a web-based clinical trial registry, a Model Formulary based on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for Children, a Sources and Prices Guide, and a number of evidence based norms and standards. WHO has also secured funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the Better Medicines for Children project to promote research and development by providing evidence and guidelines, fill knowledge gaps, encourage access in selected countries, and advocate for better use of medicines in children at both the global and country level. The global effort has resulted in significant progress to date and the identification of new challenges to be met. This document provides a brief overview of the situation of children’s medicines in 2007 and where we are today.