Therapeutic Orphans, Pediatric Victims? The Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act and Existing Pediatric Human Subject Protection
I. Glenn Cohen
Harvard Law School
Food and Drug Law Journal, Vol. 58, No. 4, pp. 661-710, 2003
In 2002 the President signed into law the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, which gives incentives for research on a group that has previously been considered therapeutic orphans when it comes to drug safety and dosage testing: Children. The Act offers an extra 6 months of market exclusivity for a drug if the manufacturer conducts drug trials in pediatric populations meeting FDA's requirements. While the intent of Congress with this act was to make drugs safer for children, it is an open question whether this is being achieved at the expense of pediatric research subjects, and the threat of a race to the bottom in research ethics looms large.
This Article describes the Act, its origins, and existing federal regulations protecting children as research subjects, while reviewing the history of pediatric research and the bioethical dilemmas it poses. The Article then discusses shortcomings in the existing scheme and describes necessary changes to better protect the welfare of children in the research setting.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51
Keywords: Food, drug, FDA, pediatrics, children, family law, health law, bioethics, IRB, research, human subjects, administrative law, market exclusivity, patent, informed consent
JEL Classification: H5, I10, I1, I18, K00, K13, K23, K32
Date posted: March 5, 2004 ; Last revised: June 2, 2013