After hearing from PETA about the plight of animals sickened and killed during repeat preclinical toxicity experiments in India prior to new registrations for drugs already approved abroad, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi was quick to share her concerns with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. Upon reviewing the requests from Smt Gandhi and PETA, the Indian Investigational New Drugs Division recommended to the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) that animals be spared use in cruel tests for new drug registrations when complete data from earlier toxicity experiments already exist for drugs approved abroad.
The DTAB has now agreed to move towards a ban under The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1945. Such a ban is expected to spare the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals in repeat experiments each year!
Because of the vast physiological differences between humans and the animals used in these tests, the results are often misleading, but regulators still typically require animal tests for drugs. However, forward-thinking scientists are developing non-animal testing methods which can replace the use of animals. For example, Harvard University’s Wyss Institute has created “organs-on-chips” that contain human cells grown in a state-of-the-art system to mimic the structure and function of human organs and organ systems. The chips can be used instead of animals in disease research, drug testing and toxicity testing and have been shown to replicate human physiology, diseases and drug responses more accurately than animal experiments do. Some companies, such as the HµREL Corporation, have already turned these chips into products that other researchers can use in place of animals.
You can help stop cruelty to animals and encourage scientific progress with modern non-animal means: urge the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change not to revoke the progressive ban on the use of animal dissection to train university zoology and life sciences students.