Medicines given to children in the UK are not properly controlled.
Drug companies are applying for licences for medicinal products before they have been fully tested on children. Drug licences are limited to usage in adults because of this lack of data.
One common example is vitamin K, which is given at birth to virtually all babies in the UK, even though there is no licence to give it orally, which is now the most common method of administering it. Similarly, theophyllines used to relax and widen the bronchial passage are often given to premature babies even though they are not recommended for children under the age of 3.
The House of Commons Health Committee is urging the Department of Health to adopt recent recommendations for age specific drug licensing, for clinical trials in children, and fuller information for health professionals and parents.