Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 June 2016

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Animal testing doesn't make human trials safe

Published 20/01/2016

One man is dead and another five are in hospital following an experimental drug trial in France and, while tragic, it's unsurprising.

History has taught us that poisoning, overdosing and cutting open animals in an attempt to assess the safety and effectiveness of new drugs before trialling them in people is not only a waste of resources but also can delay medical progress and put human lives at risk, as has clearly been shown by this case.

This is certainly not the first time that drugs which have passed animal trials have failed in human trials.

In fact a report by the US Food and Drug Administration showed that 92% of drugs fail in human clinical trials because they aren't safe or don't work.

In 2014 a comprehensive article in the prestigious BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) chronicled decades of futile animal testing, concluding: "If research conducted on animals continues to be unable to reasonably predict what can be expected in humans, the public's continuing endorsement and funding of preclinical animal research seems misplaced."

Mice and monkeys are not furry little humans.

Their anatomy, physiology and reactions to drugs are quite different than ours and trying to extrapolate data from animal tests to justify the human use of drugs is dangerous and irresponsible.

How many more people and animals have to die before regulators and the pharmaceutical industry accept that animal testing must stop?

JENNIFER WHITE

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