Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Busting myth about animal tests for drugs

IN his letter (Write Back, October 14), Ben Williamson of Peta, highlights the "crucial fact" that "90% of drugs which pass trials in other species, including mice, ultimately prove either unsafe or ineffective for humans". This is a common myth.

Around 90% of potential drugs are found to be unsafe, or ineffective, using a range of methods, including animal research and early-stage human trials.

A similarly staggering 86% of drugs that pass phase I human trials go on to fail later human tests and, by Peta's own 'logic', that makes humans a bad model for human medicine.

This 'failure rate' is not because animals, or humans, are poor models for human drugs, but because potential drugs can be abandoned for various reasons.

Animal research has given us the badger TB vaccine that many groups, including Peta, are calling for as an alternative to culling.

And thanks, in part, to animal safety testing, there have been no deaths during phase I clinical trials and only one serious incident during the last 30 years.

The tragic irony of the Northwick Trial, in which human participants experienced multiple organ failure, is that the animal data showing that this drug was dangerous was ignored.

DR ELISABETH HARLEY

Understanding Animal Research

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz