Aim This service review aimed to reassess and upgrade the ‘New Products Assessment Form’ and to develop an assessment tool in line with European regulations governing paediatric medicines. Many medicinal products routinely used to treat the paediatric population have not been studied or authorised for paediatric use, which means there is widespread unlicensed and ‘off-label’ use of medicines. Medicines deemed safe in adult formulations may not be appropriate for paediatric patients. Medicines must therefore be carefully selected based on agreed criteria including, but not limited to: licensing, excipients, administration, labelling, similarity to other products, safety and handling.
Method A literature review was conducted. Guidance, information, and advice was sought from other healthcare institutions, and European guidelines and directives informing current practise around excipients in paediatric medicines. Pharmacy colleagues were consulted during the development of the tool, and an accessible assessment tool was completed for use in a tertiary paediatric hospital.1–4
Results This is the first comprehensive ‘New Products Assessment Form’ in the hospital which complies with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) directives governing excipients in paediatric medicines. The document highlights clearly potential issues and risks associated with product excipients, licensing status, warning label guidance and allows for recording of rationale for the selection of medicines. The ‘New Products Assessment Form’ is intended to highlight potential issues associated with excipients and their associated acceptable daily intake (ADI), but it will also highlight other risks associated with medicines used in paediatrics e.g. inadequate labelling, translation requirements for foreign products, sound-alike/look-alike products, safety and handling, and others.
Conclusion This revised assessment tool has been approved for use in the hospital pharmacy. It will be made available in hospital and community pharmacies on request. Use of the tool should be monitored and audited.
Annex to the European Commission guideline on ‘Excipients in the labelling and package leaflet of medicinal products for human use’ (SANTE-2017-11668). https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/scientific-guideline/annex-european-commission-guideline-excipients-labelling-package-leaflet-medicinal-products-human_en.pdf
. NPPG Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group Newsletter No 61 Autumn 2016. Excipients in medicines for children. http://nppg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/NPPG-61.pdf
Questions and Answers on Ethanol in the context of the revision of the guideline on ‘Excipients in the label and package leaflet of medicinal products for human use’ (CPMP/463/00) https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/scientific-guideline/questions-answers-ethanol-context-revision-guideline-excipients-label-package-leaflet-medicinal_en.pdf
EMA. Guideline on pharmaceutical development of medicines for paediatric use.https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/scientific-guideline/guideline-pharmaceutical-development-medicines-paediatric-use_en.pdf
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