A report by a House of Lords committee has revealed that 90 percent of the drugs administered to children have never been tested on them. Dangerous drugs like morphine, thyrozine, the thyroid drug and even some anti-epileptic drugs are employed in the treatment of children even though there was no valid license for doing so, the report has said.
The report also alleges that some high-risk medications like asthma inhalers have also never been tried exclusively in children. Currently the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency licenses the drugs after animal research and clinical trials, but most of the trial involve adults and when adult medications are given to children they play havoc on their physiological make-up. From this year on pharmaceutical companies will be given incentives to conduct trials on children or will be forced to do so, "It is worrying that so many of the medicinal products used by our children have not been properly tested to ensure the appropriateness of their use," Lady Thomas of Walliswood, the committee's chairperson. "This will be a concern for all parents. Babies are being treated, really, by guess and by God because people don't often know what the dose should be, but doctors, faced with very sick children, will try and do their best for them." Commenting on the report, Professor Sir Alan Craft, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said, "The report should not alarm people, as the unlicensed medicines are prescribed by doctors with experience of working with children. But in the meantime, the new British National Formulary for Children provides guidance to all doctors in the UK on current best practice".