Animal-based research key to medicine safety

The innovative pharmaceutical industry is committed to ensuring any animal-based research meets the high regulatory standards set by independent ethics committees, Medicines Australia chief executive Ian Chalmers said today.

Mr Chalmers said Medicines Australia member companies are also committed to reducing animal-based research where other methods of laboratory testing are equally effective.

“Animal research in Australia can not proceed until it has been scrutinised by appropriate ethics committees and has Government approval,” Mr Chalmers said.

“This area of research is highly regulated to ensure animal use in research is valid, humane, justifiable and considerate.

“Animal-based research is not undertaken lightly. The reality is that it is an essential part of the process that ensures new medicines are adequately safe to test in people.

“No regulatory authority would allow patients to take a medicine that had not been appropriately tested on animals to ensure safety and efficacy. If animals were not used in research, there would be far fewer medicines available to patients, nor could their safety be assured.

“The industry is constantly striving to discover alternative methods of researching and developing new medicines. Reducing the number of animals that must be used in important tests is a key element in this process.

“But we have not yet reached the stage where cell culture work and computers can tell us everything we need to know about how a medicine will behave in the human body.

“Until those alternative methods become available, animal use is the only means of gathering vital information for the development of safe and effective medicines.”

Medicines Australia works closely with the NSW Government on this issue and is represented on the NSW Government’s Animal Research Review Panel.


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