WELCOME BACK. HERE'S SOME HOMEWORK

WELCOME BACK. HERE'S SOME HOMEWORK

The New Yorker yesterday ran the first piece of Required Reading for Parents for the year 2005. Jerome Groopman's brief but devastating Annals of Medicine article, "The Pediatric Gap," details the many ways in which the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA shortchange children through their failure to properly test important drugs on children, and their failure to enact pediatric drug regulations with any teeth, respectively.

Groopman's initial focus is on anesthetics and other hospital/surgical treatments, but he goes on to discuss the surprising risks in more common drugs like albuterol, which Tiny Girl and many other toddlers and older kids take regularly for asthmatic symptoms:

Michael Shannon, the director of the Children’s Hospital Boston emergency room and an expert on pediatric toxicology, told me, “We don’t know the safe limits of dose and frequency of modern inhaled asthma drugs like albuterol, and so when we give children inhalants we sometimes make them sick.”

Groopman also offers a ration of red meat to the anti-tort lobby, reporting that once upon a time the medical industry tested new drugs on children before adults, following the thinking that experimental treatments should get to sick kids first. But over the years that has changed and almost all drugs are now tested on adults first. (This is called the "reverse lifeboat phenomenon.") The reasons include marketing and economics, of course, but also the corporate fear of costly lawsuits in case children fall ill or worse during a clinical trial.

But mostly, articles like this one make us think that maybe the "crazy parents," who spend all that time making demands on their pediatricians to defend their treatment choices, may in fact be on to something.


AND IN OTHER NEWS: DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE

Today's Times science section offers essential advice for parents, including: Don't let kids touch a hot stove, and, Feed them fruits and vegetables. Well, now that you've cleared that up. . .


AUTHOR ALERT

Moms and Dads on Manhattan's West Side, especially the stay-at-home kind, would do well to stroll over to the Barnes and Noble on Broadway and 82 Street on Tues. Jan. 18, for a reading by Tom Perrotta, author of "Little Children," one of FD.com's 10 Best Books of 2004. (The competition wasn't so tough - we only read about 11 - but we still recommend Perrotta's book without reservation.)

January 4, 2005 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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