This media activity refers to the health forum Alpbach - held in Austria, August 2012 - which focused on child and youth health this year.
The majority of licensed drugs have not been approved for use in children. This finding is particularly striking considering that infants, children or adolescents differ significantly from adult organisms in a variety of physiological functions. If drugs are given off-label, paediatric patients may receive inadequate doses and hence, are at considerable risk of developing serious side-effects.
To provide access to high-quality drug therapy, the advancement of well-controlled clinical trials in children is crucial. Assoc. Prof. Ruth Ladenstein, MD (CCRI, St. Anna Children's Hospital, SIOPE President) explained at the Forum Alpbach 2012 ("Studien sind keine Experimente", Kurier 21.08.2012) that co-operations between the pharmaceutical industry, legal authorities, healthcare professionals and parents are essential and urgently required.
Child and youth research platform O.K.ids
In the course of the Alpbach health forum, Austrians Federal Minister of Health Alois Stöger also announced at a press conference that O.K.ids - clinical trail unit structures in 5 centres of Austria to foster drug development and approval of medicines for children and adolescents - will be financed for the next five years by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry. This child and youth research network is coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Ruth Ladenstein and driven by the vision to support solutions to overcome off-label and off-licence use in clinical trials for children and adolescents and hence to reduce administrative burden in the future.
O.K.ids - an Austrian child and youth research network
For more details about the developmental process of O.K.ids, please read our Science Report 2009-2010, page 140 (clinical trial unit S2IRP).