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The Physicians Committee



Novo Nordisk Ends Live-Animal Use in Quality Testing

Novo Nordisk will no longer use living animals to quality-test batches of medicine coming off production lines, the pharmaceutical giant announced last month. More than 13,000 animals a year were used for these tests in the 1990s.

Novo Nordisk had used guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, mice, and rats in these tests. No living animals will be used for these tests in 2012. The company also released a video explaining its decision:

At PCRM’s Animals, Research, and Alternatives conference last year, several presenters discussed alternatives to animal experiments in pharmaceutical development. Sarah Lynagh, Ph.D., of Biopta Ltd., presented Bridging the Gap: The Use of Human Tissue in the Drug Development Process. Marc Breton, Ph.D., from the University of Virginia Health System, presented A Computer Simulation Environment Used to Design New Insulin Treatments for Diabetes.

PCRM also uses shareholder resolutions to try to reduce animal testing at pharmaceutical companies. The resolutions would require companies to disclose animal use, including species and numbers of animals and the nature and purpose of each use. They would also require a written plan for replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal use.

Animal testing poses serious ethical concerns, and the questionable validity of these tests is increasingly raising red flags among researchers. More than nine out of 10 drugs that appear to be safe and effective in animals fail in human trials, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. More than half of all approved drugs are later relabeled or withdrawn after causing serious harm to humans.

To learn more about alternatives to animal testing, visit PCRM.org/Research.



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PCRM Online,
December 2011

 
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