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NIH Wants Safety, Efficacy of Viagra, Epogen and Other Drugs Tested in Children

Posted 25 August 2014 | By

NIH Wants Safety, Efficacy of Viagra, Epogen and Other Drugs Tested in Children

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a new "Priority List" of pediatric therapeutic areas and medical products it wants the medical community—including the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries—to focus on.

Background

Historically, many companies seeking product approval in the US avoided clinical studies involving children, wary of ethical problems, a lack of incentives and the potential consequences if testing uncovered new problems. As a result, many products lacked adequate dosing or safety information for children.

This, as regulators will tell you, is a problem. "We all know that children are not just small adults," wrote Lynne Yao, associate director of Pediatric and Maternal Health Staff in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s (CDER) Office of New Drugs (OND). Some drugs may be super-potent in children relative to adults, while others may not work at all. In either case, there are inherent safety risks.

To remedy this situation, the US Congress passed into law two critical pieces of legislation: The Best Pharmaceutical for Children Act (BPCA) and the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA), which combined had the effect of providing new exclusivity-based incentives to conduct studies (BPCA), as well as the ability for FDA to require companies to conduct pediatric studies as a condition of approval (PREA).

The effects of this legislation have been substantial. "Before BPCA and PREA became law, more than 80% of the drugs approved for adult use were being used in children, even though the safety and effectiveness had not been established in children," Yao wrote. "Today that number has been reduced to about 50%."

Of Incentives and Requirements

But the two laws differ in an important way: PREA requires companies to conduct post-market evaluations of their drugs in children, whereas the BPCA creates voluntary incentives for similar evaluations.

The BPCA, a 2002 law reauthorized in 2007 and 2012, allows FDA to request that a sponsor of a new drug product study that product's effects in children. As NIH explained in a 2012 Federal Registernotice, a lack of pediatric data "can increase a child's risk for unknown and/or adverse effects."

That's where the BPCA comes into play. In return for a sponsor conducting requested pediatric studies, a company becomes eligible for an additional six months of market exclusivity for a product's indication—the whole indication, and not just for its pediatric population. For blockbuster drugs which might generate billions in sales each year, the extra six months of exclusivity can be a powerful incentive.

But not all companies decide to take advantage of these incentives, often citing a lack of interest, ethical or legal concerns, difficulty enrolling patients or a lack of profit.

To address those cases, the BPCA also directs NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to compile the Priority List of Needs of Pediatric Therapeutics (PLNPT) at least once every three years. Each year, the NICHD focuses on three therapeutic areas, it said.

The list, according to NIH, represents the "drugs and therapeutic areas of highest priority for study in pediatric populations."

Once identified, NIH and FDA (or a sponsor) will develop Proposed Pediatric Study Requests (PPSRs) soliciting a manufacturer to conduct research on a drug in return for additional market exclusivity. If the manufacturer declines, then the NIH will attempt to conduct its own research on the drug to better inform pediatric labeling.

New List

So which pediatric needs reign supreme in 2014? NIH announced on 25 August 2014 that it has released its latest PLNPT for 2014 reflecting 17 categories of elevated need.

The list includes 88 priority therapeutic areas, including several new ones like sildenafil (Viagra), epogen, fluconazole (Diflucan), and epinephrine.

A full list is as follows:

Current or Proposed Listed Therapeutic AreaCurrent or Proposed Listed DrugGaps in Knowledge/ LabelingType of BPCA Study and/or Scientific NeedsPlans and Progress
Pulmonary hypertensionSildenafilTreatment strategies in children with pulmonary hypertension of differing etiologiesPK and pharmacodynamic

 

studies in neonates receiving the drug

 

Epidemiology of differing etiologies and age appropriate outcome measures in children

Pediatric observational and PK study by the PTN ongoing
Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseNo specific drugSafety and efficacy of treatments in children Participation in Gastroenterology Regulatory Endpoints and the Advancement of Therapeutics (GREAT II) meeting
ConstipationPropylene glycol (Miralax)Dosing and safety in childrenPK, safetyConcept under review
HemangiomasTimololPK, safety, and efficacyPK, safetyConcept under review
Infections in neonatesFluconazoleDosing and safety in very low birth weight neonatesPK, safety clinical studiesPediatric PK and safety study completed by the PTN

 

 

CSR submitted to the FDA for review

Neonatal bronchopulmonary

 

dysplasia (BPD)/lung development

FurosemideDosing and safetyDetermination of dosing and safety in preterm neonatesOpportunistic PTN study and data analyses currently ongoing
HypotensionEpinephrineDosage in resuscitation in children with elevated body mass indexPK studiesPediatric opportunistic study by the PTN ongoing
Anemia of chronic kidney diseaseEpogenOptimal dosing and Safety

 

 

Pharmacoepidemiology

data

Appropriate dosing and outcome measures in children with chronic kidney disease

 

 

Determination of appropriate target hemoglobin levels

Under consideration

 

NIH's Priority List (FR)


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