For the moment, doctors are already advising parents not to administer cough-relieving drugs to children that haven't reached the age of 2. The Federal Drugs Agency suggests making this 12 years, arguing that there is not sufficient scientific proof that the medicines actually work.
"Our experts want to avoid health problems", Ann Eeckhout of the agency explains, adding that cough medicines are often used the wrong way. "It's also difficult to determine the dose. Moreover, coughing is often not an isolated symptom, but a symptom that is part of a whole pathology."
Cough medicine manufacturers have a month's time to prove that their drugs are working. After that, the agency will issue an advice. It's then up to Health Minister Laurette Onkelinx (Francophone socialist) to make the final decision.