Measuring the Patient Health, Societal and Economic Benefits of US Pediatric Therapeutics Legislation

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana, IN, USA.
Paediatric Drugs (Impact Factor: 1.98). 07/2012; 14(5):283-94. DOI: 10.2165/11633590-000000000-00000
Source: PubMed


Through at least the mid-1990s, children were often referred to as ‘therapeutic orphans’ for whom many treatments were administered without the benefit of appropriate studies to guide drug labeling for dosing and other critical therapeutic decisions. At that time, there were no incentives for manufacturers to pursue such work, nor regulatory requirements to compel these studies. Congress addressed this by including an important provision titled the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) in the 1997 Food and Drug Administration Modernization and Accountability Act. This was complemented by another key piece of legislation, the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA) in 2003. The former Act and its successors created an incentive for firms to study on-patent drugs in pediatric populations by extending the market exclusivity of a medicine by 6 months. The latter was a requirement that provided the US FDA with the authority to require studies of drugs in children if an adult indication also occurs in children.
In the current paper, we consider the effects of both pieces of legislation in terms of the health, societal, and economic benefits they have likely imparted and will continue to provide in the future. We conclude that the gains have been substantial — both in terms of safer and more effective use of medicines in children and in terms of new research that has been incentivized by the BPCA exclusivity provision. We estimate the gross economic benefits from the latter alone to be approximately $US360 billion.

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