AIMS Drug formulations that are specifically intended for pediatric use have not been widely developed in France and do not adequately meet therapeutic needs, particularly as regards hospital requirements. A multicenter study was therefore carried out to evaluate the situation. MATERIALS AND METHODS A questionnaire was sent out in June 1998 to all French university hospital pharmacies and also to those public and private hospitals known to be involved in pediatric care. Of the 78 questionnaires mailed, 63 answers were received. The information requested concerned all the drug formulations prepared in 1997. RESULTS Ten out of the 63 hospitals that replied stated that the questionnaire was not relevant in their particular case. Fifty-three answers were therefore evaluated, i.e., corresponding to data from 35 university hospitals, 15 public general hospitals, and three private hospitals. For 7,022 pediatric beds, 1,155,544 units were prepared consisting of 968,520 capsules prepared from 220 active substances, 33,493 liquid preparations for oral intake, 87,592 parenteral nutrition bags, 48,225 injectable antibiotic drugs, 10,663 injectable anticancer agents, and 7,051 miscellaneous sterile preparations. The most frequently prescribed active substances were, in decreasing order of importance, as follows: diphemanil, captopril, fludrocortisone, ranitidine, spironolactone, and ursodesoxycholic acid. A marked heterogeneity was displayed in galenic forms and drug dosages. CONCLUSION In conclusion, this study has shown the most commonly prescribed drugs and the most frequently prepared dosages for pediatric use. Drug manufacturing companies may find it an useful source of information on the limited pediatric market; it may also encourage pediatricians to homogenize and optimize their therapeutic strategies, and pharmacists to establish specific quality-control procedures. The authors recommend that national guidelines be set up, and it is suggested that the health authorities could participate in organizing the means whereby drugs for pediatric use are made more readily available.