Access to children’s medicines in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand in 1998, 2002 and 2007
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Objective To describe the listing of prescription entities (unique active agents only available on prescription) in standard reference texts that were licensed for children (0–18 years), in dosage forms suitable for children, and subsidised (Government funded) for children. Setting The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand in 1998, 2002 and 2007. Method A review of data from 1998, 2002, and 2007 using standard prescribing and subsidy reference sources in each country. The study examined all prescription entities, orally available entities, and entities newly licensed for children 2002–2007. Main outcome measure Changes in the number of prescription entities that were licensed, suitably formulated and subsidised for children over the period. Results The United Kingdom had the highest number of prescription entities (1149 in 1998; 1049 in 2007), entities licensed for children (677; 564), entities suitably formulated for children (791; 676), and entities licensed for children and subsidised (677; 562) over the period. However, the numbers and proportions of entities licensed for children and suitably formulated for children decreased over the period of the study. New Zealand and Australia had lower numbers throughout the period, but the number of entities licensed for children (New Zealand 319–450, Australia 288–466) and entities licensed for children and subsidised (New Zealand 245–288, Australia 155–254) increased over the period. Conclusion Over the period of the study, there was a decrease in listed prescription entities that were licensed for children in the United Kingdom, but an increase in Australia and New Zealand. There were considerably fewer entities licensed, suitably formulated and subsidised for children than for adults at all three time points and in all three countries. This reinforces the need for the current initiatives to improve access to medicines for children.
KeywordsAustralia Dosage forms Drug therapy Healthcare disparities New Zealand Paediatrics United Kingdom
Innova Software provided complimentary copies of the Australia Prescription Products CD-ROM for use in this study. Editorial staff at Datapharm Communications were very prompt and helpful in answering questions about the electronic Medicines Compendium.
Conflicts of interest statement
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