Bringing more treatment options to children and youth in Canada

Thursday, July 25, 2019 General News
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Minister of Health highlights Government actions to support better access to pediatric treatments during her visit to the Health Sciences North Hospital in Sudbury

SUDBURY, ON, July 25, 2019 /CNW/ - For parents, their greatest wish is for their children to be happy and healthy. When children and their families are faced with illness or injury, Canadians count on the healthcare

system to provide them with effective treatments that are tailored to their child's unique needs.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, toured Sudbury's KICX for Kids Club House treatment facility at Health Sciences North Hospital and provided pediatricians, parents and children's health advocates with an update on Health Canada's activities to support better access to pediatric treatments.

Creating better access to treatment starts with understanding needs. Health Canada has already begun engaging more with the pediatric community to determine where there are gaps. Next the regulatory system is being modernized to encourage more manufacturers to bring more products to Canada and to expand pediatric indications for existing medications. Then the lessons learned by monitoring data about drugs that are already being used to treat kids is being harnessed, with or without specific indications. And finally Health Canada is working to ensure those treatments are affordable for all Canadians. 

Health Canada has a dedicated team that is already working to bring more treatments for children and youth to Canada. This team is increasing its outreach to build relationships with pediatric experts, patient groups and others to make sure that Health Canada has the most up to date information to address the:

  • barriers patients face in accessing treatment;
  • challenges manufacturers face in bringing new treatments to Canada; and
  • new and emerging treatments for children and youth, particularly in areas such as rare diseases and cancer drugs where few other treatment options are available.  

Health Canada is looking at how drugs are regulated and is expanding monitoring approaches so that diverse and child-specific information can be gathered about how drugs perform once they are on the market. That real world data will be used to support pediatric uses for these medications and improve patient safety.

As part of ongoing work, new measures were announced in Budget 2019 that will modernize regulations for clinical trials to create more opportunities for innovative approaches to clinical trials that can be safely conducted in children.  

Health Canada has heard from researchers and practitioners and has made changes that better support clinical trials for new treatments for Canadian children and youth with cancers and other serious illnesses. Reducing these administrative barriers ultimately leads to more authorized treatments for children.  

In 2018, Health Canada approved 17 new drugs with pediatric indications, including drugs for cancers, rare diseases, and bleeding disorders.

Health Canada will continue to work collaboratively with experts and patients and explore all options through new or existing tools that will help to ensure treatments are available to meet the needs of every Canadian child.


"Developing and authorizing medical treatments for children goes far beyond resizing adult drugs and medical devices. It requires a customized approach. Our government's goal is for Canadian children to have every opportunity to learn and grow, and live happy and healthy lives. We are focusing our efforts and resources to help make this a reality." The Honourable Ginette Petitpas TaylorMinister of Health

Quick Facts

  • In April 2019, Health Canada released draft guidance on Optimizing the use of Real World Evidence to encourage companies to bring forward drug submissions with evidence about how drugs are being used in real-life settings. Such evidence can be particularly useful for approving new drugs for children, where there can be unique challenges in gathering evidence to demonstrate safety and efficacy.
  • In May 2019, Health Canada released draft guidance on Accelerated Review of Human Drug Submissions, including new versions of existing drugs made especially for children.


SOURCE Health Canada

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