By Frank D. Roylance Baltimore Sun Reporter
Parents of young children are spending billions of dollars on over-the-counter cough and cold remedies that don't work, and which could make the kids sicker, according to a group of leading pediatricians.
"When you see multiple deaths, hundreds of calls to Poison Control and thousands upon thousands of kids using these drugs in the city every day, and they don't work and they're not safe, it's a fair issue for public health," said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore's commissioner of health.
Sharfstein and 15 leading pediatric experts petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today, urging the agency to stop drug makers from marketing the products to young children.
As many as 900 Maryland children younger than 5 overdosed on the medications in 2004, the petition alleges. The deaths of at least four children in Baltimore have been linked to unintentional overdoses in the last six years.