Two reauthorization bills written by Rep. Anna Eshoo that would make medication safer for kids cleared a key committee vote Thursday.
The Best Pharmaceutical for Children Act (BPCA) and the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA) were approved unanimously by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and are now on their way to the House floor for consideration.
The two bills were first passed by Congress in 1997 and 2003, respectively.
“I’m thrilled by the Committee’s vote today,” Rep. Eshoo said in a press statement. “Doctors should not have to play a guessing game when it comes to prescribing medication to children. That’s why I’ve been working for more than a decade to make progress in pediatric drug labeling. Kids deserve access to the same safe medicines adults have, and today we’re one step closer to that goal.”
The BPCA and PREA Reauthorization Act of 2012 is being supported by 21 national medical associations, including local stakeholders, she said.
"We thank and wholeheartedly support Representatives Eshoo, Markey, and Rogers in their efforts to reauthorize this critical legislation," said Christopher G. Dawes, President and CEO of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. "The Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act and the Pediatric Research Equity Act have played an extraordinary role in the health and safety of America's children. On behalf of pediatric caregivers everywhere, we urge the continuance of these important laws."
The bills, if passed, requires and incentives companies to perform more pediatric clinical tests.
“The March of Dimes applauds Representative Anna Eshoo for her long-time leadership in creating and now updating two essential laws that improve the safety of prescription drugs for all children,” said David K. Stevenson, MD, Principal Investigator, March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Stanford University. “The Best Pharmaceuticals for Children and Pediatric Research Equity Acts are fundamental to ensuring that all medications are tested properly before they are given to children. Parents of babies in the NICU and hospitalized children should have the peace of mind of knowing that the drugs being administered have been tested thoroughly to show that they are safe and being given in the best form and dosage. BPCA and PREA will help guarantee that the appropriate research is done on prescription drugs to ensure both safety and efficacy in pediatric care.”
Dr. Janet Chaikind, Pediatrics Medical Director for San Mateo Medical Center, said it is critical for medication to be designed and testing specifically for children.
"As pediatricians, our primary focus in the care of children has always been prevention. Unfortunately, we must accept the fact that children do get sick," said Dr. Chaikind, "Children deserve medications and treatments specifically designed, studied, and safety tested for their unique needs. The BCPA and the PREA Reauthorization Act of 2012 supports our ability to provide the best and safest treatment for children when medications are needed. This type of legislation is essential for the future health and safety of our children."