HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Childhood Cold Medicines and Cloned Food: Your FDA at Work

The FDA announed today that cold medicines are too risky for very young children age 2 and under.  They will decide later about the safety of such cold medicines for slightly older children.  From the Associated Press,

Parents may be left with only love and lots of liquid to give their sniffling babies and toddlers now that the government is declaring over-the-counter cough and cold medicines too risky for tots.  The Food and Drug Administration was issuing that warning Thursday to parents of children under 2.

It's a move expected for months: Drug companies last October quit selling dozens of versions of nonprescription cold remedies targeted specifically to babies and toddlers. That month, the FDA's scientific advisers also voted that the drugs don't work in small children and shouldn't be used in preschoolers, either — anyone under age 6.

The FDA still hasn't decided if OTC decongestants, antihistamines and cough suppressants are appropriate for older children, officials told The Associated Press. Expect a decision on that by spring, the deadline necessary to notify manufacturers before they begin production for next fall's cold season.

For now, FDA's first official ruling focuses on youngsters under 2, warning that "serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur."

The good news - well that "lots of liquids" can now included milk from cloned animals!! Woo!!  In a brief article yesterday, the New York Times noted that the FDA had found that food and milk from cloned animals and their progeny is safe.  I know that I trust them completely.

Also, further good news as an earlier story by the New York Times indicates that parents will be saving lots of money by not purchasing these drugs:   "There are about 800 pediatric cold products sold in the United States that use one or more of 39 different drugs. Parents spend around $500 million every year buying nearly 95 million boxes containing 3.8 billion doses of medicine."

As I have mentioned before - drugs for parents of sick children (something non-drowsy that makes one feel happy about the fact that they will be up all night  - perhaps singing soft songs) might be a lucrative nitch market. (Plus, you maybe need report only the positive clinical trials for these drugs - oo - the New England Journal of Medicine may have just squashed that as well, see here for brief overview of story).

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