How many new medicines are being developed for children?

America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies are developing 234 medicines for the special health care needs of children, according to a new report released by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

According to statistics from the American Cancer Society, 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer today will survive five years or longer because of major treatment advances, compared to a five-year survival rate of less than 50 percent 30 years ago. Progress has also been made against childhood pneumonia. According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, pneumonia deaths among children dropped 97 percent between 1939 and 1996, thanks in part to antibiotics that prevent deaths from not only pneumonia, but also scarlet fever and other diseases that used to claim the lives of children.

New vaccines have also been vitally important in the fight against childhood illnesses. They protect children against polio, measles, mumps, chicken pox, diphtheria, whooping cough, hepatitis B and meningitis.

The new “Medicines in Development for Children” survey also lists many other new pediatric treatments that are being tested today, including:

•23 for neurologic disorders, including epilepsy, which afflicts more than 300,000 Americans under the age of 14;
•15 for respiratory disorders, including asthma, which afflicts about 6.7 million American children;
•13 for cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, high cholesterol and congenital heart disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.