Countless numbers of patients worldwide have seen their quality of life improved thanks to innovative new medicines. The pharmaceutical industry in the UK is constantly researching and developing medicines which aim to improve the ways in which a range of conditions are treated. Research using animals plays an important role in this process.
By law, all new medicines must first be tested on animals, in order to ensure patient safety. Only when these tests have been shown to be successful will clinical trials will be conducted on humans. It is important to note that animals are only used in medical research when absolutely necessary and unavoidable, after ethical review – in situations where appropriate alternatives are not available.
The ABPI supports research using animals where alternative methods are not available, where the potential benefits to health are compelling, and where acceptable ethical and welfare standards can be met. We believe the European Directive 2010/63/EU has enhanced animal welfare standards and introduced the concepts of refinement, replacement and reduction across the EU, while ensuring Europe remains a world leader in biomedical research.
The bio-pharmaceutical industry, which the ABPI represents, has extensive research and development programmes which make a valuable contribution to people’s health, and also to the UK economy. The industry has been responsible for the development of the large majority of the medicines in the world. Without vital research using animals there are many serious diseases which could not be effectively treated or managed the way they are today.
Our industry’s research using animals plays a small but essential role in the design and development of new medicines. Research using animals is currently essential to bridge the gap between the theories developed in the test tube, and the reality of introducing a safe and effective new treatment to patients.
Our industry only uses animals when it is necessary and when appropriate alternatives are not available. The sector is strongly committed to the 3Rs principles of animal research (replacement, reduction and refinement), and is driving collaborative initiatives at a UK, European and international level to seek and validate replacement, reduction and refinement options.
Our industry takes its responsibility for the animals in our care extremely seriously. Our members maintain very high standards of animal welfare, complying with strict UK regulations and often going above and beyond these regulations. The care and use of animals is overseen by highly-skilled and professional individuals, including animal technicians, vets, and scientists, ensuring that the animals used in research are well looked after throughout their lifetimes.
The ABPI’s commitments: