India Set to Ban Repeat Animal Tests for Drugs Already Approved Abroad

For Immediate Release:
25 August 2015

Dr Chaitanya Koduri; [email protected]
Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

PETA Request Prompts Drug Technical Advisory Board to Take Action for Animals

Delhi – After hearing from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) about the plight of animals sickened and killed during repeat preclinical toxicity experiments in India prior to new drug registrations for drugs already approved abroad, India’s Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, was quick to share her concerns with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Upon reviewing the request from Smt Gandhi and PETA, the Indian Investigational New Drugs Division recommended to the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) that animals be spared cruel tests for new drug registrations when complete data from earlier toxicity experiments already exist for drugs approved abroad. In a move that is expected to spare the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals in repeat experiments each year, the DTAB agreed on Tuesday to move towards a ban under The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1945.

A copy of the minutes from the DTAB’s 70th meeting, where this decision was documented, is available here on page 26, agenda point number 17.

“This ban will mean countless animals won’t have to face painful and often lethal poisoning during toxicity tests, as other animals have sadly already experienced”, says PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Chaitanya Koduri. “PETA India will continue to work to ensure that modern, animal-free methods become the norm everywhere.”

As noted by PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – 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.

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