A resolution says that research in the field of paediatrics, especially on childhood cancer, remains “far too sparse.”
In the 10 years since the entry-into-force of the 2006 paediatric medicines regulations, only two anti-cancer drugs have come onto the market.
“This situation is no longer sustainable and we ask the European Commission to improve the current legislation", said French deputy Françoise Grossetête, from the EPP group, which has drafted the resolution on the subject.
Every year in Europe, 6000 children die of cancer and improving research in paediatrics could save lives, she says.
The European Commission is due to publish a report on the implementation of the 2006 paediatric medicines regulations in 2017.
But Grossetête wants it to act as soon as possible, saying, “I have seen too many parents who have lost their children for lack of treatments, even though they are suffering from diseases that can be treated in adults."
The resolution promotes various concrete proposals to the Commission, including the review of the many exemptions that often prevent laboratories from their obligations to carry out 'paediatric investigation plans'.
Grossetête said, "The implementation of these plans, which was made mandatory by the 2006 regulations, is not respected because of rigid procedures, the narrowness of the market and the complexity of science.”
To reverse this trend, MEPs are also calling on the Commission to put in place a “genuine incentive system” for research that “punishes industrials who do not play ball.”
This system, said Grossetête, should also make it possible to encourage laboratories, via tax incentives or extensions of patent protection for example, to develop only paediatric indications that are not necessarily 'modelled' on adult products.