Ten Guiding Principles

Ten Guiding Principles (Modified for All Patients)

1. Children and adults, as users of medicines, have a right to appropriate information about their medicines that reflects the patient's health status, capabilities, and culture.

2. Regardless of age, children and adults want to know. Healthcare providers and health educators should communicate directly with the patient about his or her medicines.

3. Patients' interest in medicines should be encouraged, and they should be taught how to ask questions of healthcare providers and other care givers about medicines and other therapies. In addition, children should be encouraged to ask questions of their parents.

4. Patients learn by example. The actions of parents, in the case of children and other care givers for all patients should show appropriate use of medicines.

5. Children, their parents, and their healthcare providers should negotiate the gradual transfer of responsibility for medicine use in ways that respect parental responsibilities and the health status and capabilities of the child.

6. Children's medicine education should take into account what children want to know about medicines, as well as what health professionals think children should know.

7. Children should receive basic information about medicines and their proper use as a part of school health education.

8. The patient's medicine education should include information about the general use and misuse of medicines, as well as about the specific medicines the child is using.

9. Adults as well as children have a right to information that will enable them to avoid poisoning through the misuse of medicines.

10. Patients asked to participate in clinical trials (after parents' consent for children) have a right to receive appropriate information to promote their understanding before assent and participation.

The principles were developed by the Division of Information Development, United States Pharmacopeia (www.usp.org), as a result of the open conference “Children and medicines: information isn't just for grownups” held in Washington, DC, in 1996

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