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Parents advised to properly medicate children

2015-01-28 14:38 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Industry experts are worried about the improper use of drugs for children at home, and advise parents to consult pediatricians in dosage to protect children from any risks.

Xu Shuxiang, executive vice secretary-general of the China News of Drug Information Association, told Xinhua that misuse and overdose are major mistakes made by Chinese parents.

"Some parents medicate their children based on their unprofessional experience, which may lead to misconduct," said Xu.

According to a report by the China News Service, a survey showed that up to 32 percent of children given medicine in China was deemed "improper" conduct, and that 12.9 percent of children would have an adverse reaction to medication, nearly twice that of adults.

In Shiqiaocun village in the central province of Henan, parents have little understanding of child-specific medicines and many villagers were "put off" by the taste of children's drugs and so just reduced the dosage of adult medications.

Even in metropolis like Beijing, some parents have medicated their children randomly.

Qin Jie, 27, said that when she was young, her mother used to give her half an adult dosage. "My mother would split the pill and give me one half," said Qin. "However, I will be more careful with my child."

Xu called on all households to consult pediatricians, regularly check their family medicines, keep an eye on their children after drug use, and timely report it to pediatricians if any discomfort occurs.

Thanks to years' publicity efforts, Xu said, the cases of misusing antibiotics to cause children deaf-mute have been largely reduced, and awareness of safe dosages for children has improved in recent years.

However, lack of child-specific medicines is another concern of industry experts.

According to the China Food and Drug Administration, China had around 3,500 drug product categories with less than 60 specifically intended for children, and 90 percent of drugs do not come with children dosage information.

Beijing Children's Hospital pharmaceutical office director, Wang Xiaoling, said "many products do not have child dosages and in some cases adult medication can cause an overdose."

Wang said that infants, especially newborns, were at risk of harm due to incorrect dosages, as their organs were still developing.

From 2011 to 2013, there were 1,098 types of drug products used in pediatric clinics in 15 hospitals, but only 45 were exclusively for children, said Wang, citing the results of a medical survey.

Despite the shortage of child medication, pharmaceutical companies are weary of branching out in to the sector, due to increased costs, approval procedures and other risks associated with producing medicine for infants and children.

In 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission together with other five departments issued a guideline to tackle the shortage, vowing more support.

The guideline said that China would streamline the approval procedure; encourage research and clinical tests; and issue favorable pricing policies to support development of child-specific medicines.

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