ESDP was founded in 1988 by paediatricians and pharmacologists under the leadership of Professor Jean-Pierre Guignard from Lausanne. The first congress was held in Les Diablerets in Switzerland.
Aims of the Society:
- Better Medicines for Children
- Scientific work in the field of Developmental Perinatal and Paediatric Pharmacology
- Improving Research and Access to Children`s Medicines Worldwide
- Works closely with: European Medicines Agency (EMA), International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR), World Health Organization (WHO)
The primary aim of the Society is to promote research in the field of paediatric pharmacology and to offer a forum for exchanges between pharmacologists and clinical physicians about more adequate drug administration in this population. Indeed, there are major differences between children and adults in terms of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the drugs. Moreover, these differences vary with the age of children, due to the maturation process.
Children have the same rights to medicines as adults and, as a consequence, all members of this Society have to bring up a contribution to keep anybody aware of the urgent need of adequate clinical trials in the paediatric population. Presently, 1/3 of outpatient children, 2/3 of children in hospital, 9/10 of children in intensive care units receive drugs that are prescribed in an unlicensed or off-label manner. Most of the time, ethical reason has been claimed outside from the pharmaceutical industry to explain the lack of clinical trials in children but the economic reason has been kept silent ! At the opposite, prescribing to children drugs that have not been properly evaluated in their age group has to be felt unethical !
In Europe, the most important challenge in the next future as it was encountered in USA few years ago, is to give priority to the concept that medicinal products administered to children should meet the criteria of quality, safety and effectiveness as it is required in adults. In other words, it means that medicinal products should be covered by the marketing autorisation in children for a full access to innovative drug therapy.
American government has already made some important decisions in this way. Legislative changes have been voted to encourage pharmaceutical companies to study medicines in children and major funding has been released from the US NIH to encourage clinical trials in children and increase in scientific knowledge on the differences in drug metabolism, on mechanisms of action.