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Pediatric Drug Testing Is Vital and Achievable

November 14, 2002

"Pediatric Trials Only Drive Up Prices" by Henry I. Miller (Commentary, Nov. 4) distorts the facts and ignores what pediatricians know to be true: Children are not small adults and their bodies react to medicine differently than adults' bodies do. The fact is, pediatricians uniformly agree that the lack of formal drug testing in children is a problem. The fact is, too, that the Food and Drug Administration has made it clear that the pediatric rule, which requires drug companies to test in children medicines they market for adults, will not slow approval of drugs for adults.

Contrary to Miller's opinion, many parents, especially those of children with chronic or life-threatening illness, or both, are willing to enroll their children in carefully controlled studies to help ensure that the very best, most effective and safest therapies can be found to treat their children -- and benefit children throughout the world.

We are writing on behalf of our colleagues at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. We strongly support the formal and timely study of medications in children, we applaud the efforts of the FDA and Congress to address the need for pediatric drug testing, and we encourage Congress to enact into law the pediatric rule.

C. Patrick Reynolds MD

Stuart E. Siegel MD

Hematology Oncology

Roberta G. Williams MD

Chair, Dept. of Pediatrics

Childrens Hospital L.A.

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