Medicines Committee

The Committee manages and supports projects in paediatric medicine. This is achieved in partnership with organisations that represent children and young people, parents, carers and health professionals.

About

The Medicines Committee is a unique collaborative standing committee with membership split between the RCPCH and Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG).

The Committee's key work areas are:

  • Consultation - Responds to consultation documents from the Government and outside agencies, including the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) - see below for current consultations
  • Lobbying - Advises and supports external agencies and parental bodies about the licensing, availability, use and surveillance of medicines in paediatric populations. This includes medicines used outside of the license, newly licensed products, unlicensed medicines for rare conditions and adverse reactions to medicines
  • Education - Supports education training and research in the field of safe prescribing

The Committee also supports several organisations in the following ways:

  • British National Formulary For Children (BNFC) - Inputs into policy issues on the development of this formulary and supports the production of future editions. BNFC information is available to most RCPCH members via Paediatric Care Online (PCO UK)
  • Medicines for Children - Assists with the development of this resource, which has practical and reliable information and videos for parents, covering more than 100 medicines
  • NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN): Children Specialty -  This is is one of over 30 specialties in the NIHR, bringing together communities of clinical practice to provide national networks of research expertise, and working to support the implementation of research into NHS practice. We support its function in relation to research opportunities and implications for practice
  • Meds IQ - Provides input into the governance and management of this online resource, which aims to improve medications safety in paediatric research and practice

Current work

Use of delayed prescriptions of antibiotics for infants and children

Delayed prescribing (also known as 'back up' prescribing) involves the supply of a prescription to a patient with clear instructions about when to obtain the treatment in relation to their symptoms. Our statement, endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), summarises current knowledge and highlights special issues when considering delayed prescriptions of antibiotics in infants and children.

Read full statement

Using standardised strengths of unlicensed liquid medicines in children - joint position statement

The Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG) and RCPCH have developed a list of strengths for the prescription of 17 medicines. These strengths should be prescribed where children require the unlicensed liquid medication, to minimise the risk of error and accidental under and overdoses.

It is also recommended that these strengths should be included in local guidance.

Read full statement

Compassionate use schemes

The Committee is aware of work by other groups regarding compassionate use schemes. This webpage will be updated to reflect decisions by the Committee to endorse statements by other groups, or to produce a Committee statement, accordingly.

Cannabis-based products for medicinal use in children and young people with epilepsy

The Committee advises accordance to the guidance produced by the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA).

Read BPNA guidance

Sodium valproate use in women and girls of childbearing years

Experts from 13 national bodies, including seven Royal Colleges, joined forces in March 2019 to launch practical guidance to support doctors and other health professionals around the use of this medicine in women and girls in their reproductive years.

Download Guidance document on valproate use in women and girls of childbearing years below

In recent years the ongoing concern about use of sodium valproate in females who might become pregnant has resulted in changes to the licensed indication, such that sodium valproate is contraindicated in women and girls of childbearing potential unless the conditions of a Pregnancy Prevention Programme (PREVENT) are met. This joint guidance from RCPCH and British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA) aims to clarify the approach to prescribing valproate in female patients under 18 years.

Download Prescribing valproate to female patients under 18 years of age below

Consultations

During 2018-19 the Committee has so far submitted a consultation response to the following:

  • MHRA EU Exit no-deal contingency legislation for the regulation of medicines and medical devices
  • NICE Surveillance Review Proposal - MPG1 Developing and updating local formularies
  • NICE Scope consultation on the creation of the children and young people with disabilities and severe complex needs guidelines
  • NICE Scope consultation on updating the epilepsies in children and young people guidelines
  • NICE Guideline on CG76 medicines adherence: involving patients in decisions about prescribed medicines and supporting adherence
  • NICE Guideline on NG5 medicines optimisation: the safe and effective use of medicines to enable the best possible outcomes
  • NICE Draft guidelines on pneumonia: antimicrobial prescribing

Medicines safety

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and its independent advisor, Commission on Human Medicines, publish a monthly drug safety update - see current and recent editions.

Contact

For more information about the Medicines Committee please email: research@rcpch.ac.uk