The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) has added a Paediatric Trials Search facility to the Clinical Trials Portal it launched in September 2005.

The new facility will make it easier to find online information about ongoing and completed trials of new medicines developed or adapted specifically for children. It uses special filters to ensure that, regardless of which disease or other keyword is entered, the facility will generate listings showing trials focused on children.

“Developing medicines for children presents a number of additional challenges, over and above those faced when working on medicines for adults,” commented IFPMA director general Dr Harvey Bale. “However, R&D-based pharmaceutical companies are committed to expanding the range of medicines which are specifically adapted and approved for children.”

He cited the more than 20 antiretroviral drugs approved by US and European regulators to treat HIV/AIDS in adults, of which 16 are now available in approved paediatric formulations.

Late last year the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a ‘Make medicines child size’ campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the need for more medicines tailored to children. At the time, WHO assistant director general Dr Howard Zucker said more than 50% of children in developed countries took off-patent or unlicensed medicines. In developing countries the problem was aggravated by a higher incidence of disease and poor access to medicines, he added.

Last May the IFPMA completed the third stage of a programme to widen the availability of clinical trial information when it teamed up with its Swedish member association, LIF, to introduce a new integrated search facility. Pioneered through the FASS medicines information website operated by LIF, this technology platform enabled visitors to country-specific websites to search in their own language for trial data using the IFPMA Clinical Trials Portal engine.