The availability of licensed paediatric drugs is lagging behind those for adults, and there is a lack of safe formulations in suitable doses that children are able and willing to take. As a consequence, children are commonly treated with off-label or unlicensed drugs. As off-label and unlicensed drug use are associated with a greater risk for harm than on-label drug use, a range of global initiatives have been developed to realize "better" medicines for children. This review describes the challenges and achievements of the European Union to realize this goal, with a focus on paediatric drug development and formulation design. In 2007, a European Paediatric Regulation was installed enforcing companies to consider children in the early development of drugs with a new drug substance, for a new indication or with a new route of administration. The Regulation, e.g. requires companies to develop a paediatric investigation plan discussing the proposed clinical trials in children of different ages and the formulations for future marketing. Since 2013, the pharmaceutical design of any newly marketed paediatric drug should comply with the "Guideline on the Pharmaceutical Development of Medicines for Paediatric Use." Companies should, e.g. justify the route of administration, dosage form, formulation characteristics, safety of excipients, dosing frequency, container closure system, administration device, patient acceptability and user information. In this review, the guideline's key aspects are discussed with a focus on novel formulations such as mini-tablets and orodispersible films, excipients with a potential risk for harm such as azo dyes and adequate user instructions
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