With support from PETA India, the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) is making changes to prevent animals from being killed in redundant, lethal experiments. In its proposal, the IPC has removed the abnormal toxicity test from the Indian Pharmacopoeia – the official compilation of approved tests for drugs manufactured and marketed in this country.
The IPC will remove the requirement to inject guinea pigs and mice with a vaccine under the guise of looking for harmful contaminants. For each batch of a vaccine tested, all animals must survive injections. If animals die, the test is repeated, and animals who don’t die during the experiment are killed at the end of the test. This change will spare the lives of thousands of animals each year.
In 2018, the IPC took steps to avoid this test, but it wasn’t until its seventh group meeting of experts, on 29 April 2019, that the proposal for removing the abnormal toxicity test as a mandatory requirement was accepted. PETA India attended this meeting and supported the change.
Extensive reviews of data about the abnormal toxicity test have shown that there are superior approaches for controlling and detecting batch contamination than the use of animals.
With this test completely removed, the IPC will join agencies, such as the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines, which removed the requirement to conduct this test. An expert committee of the World Health Organization concluded in its 2018 report that “complete omission [of the abnormal toxicity test] would not compromise the quality and safety of vaccines and other biological products”. The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations also recognised the lack of value in using the test.