Yes. Drugs would be just as safe and probably safer than they now are
if the animal testing phase was eliminated. Presently, legal drugs kill
more people per year than all illegal drugs combined.
It is first important to recognize that drugs do not spring from lab
animal to bottle. There are four methods of designing drugs. Scientists
begin by one of the following methods:
- Discovering new substances from nature
- Uncovering a different curative value in an existing medication
- Modifying the chemical structure of a similar medication
- Designing a new medication from scratch based on anticipated
Once researchers have theorized about a substance's usefulness, they
administer it to animals to see whether or not it works on them. They
obtain plenty of feedback about the substance's effectiveness in the
species tested. Positive animal results are reported in the popular
press, generally mentioning only scantly the huge unbuilt bridge between
lab animal results and human cures. At this stage there is still no
reliable information about what the substance will do in humans, because
our metabolism is unique.
Though subjecting the substances to animal testing is designed to
reveal anticipated effects and side effects in humans, very often the
results differ dramatically between species. Substances that could save
many human lives are not approved because they are harmful to animals.
And substances that are therapeutic in animals get approved, then harm
and sometimes kill humans. Instead of safeguarding human consumers,
animal testing creates a false sense of security.
The proof of this is apparent in any thorough assessment of drug
development history. Numerous of our most popular drugs including
aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), can be
quite detrimental to animals. Diuretic medications, a mainstay in the
treatment of hypertension, were in common use before animal testing
became the rage. Many of these drugs, safely used by millions, would be
hard pressed to pass today's mandatory mouse tests.
There is justifiable concern that animal tests are preventing us from
acquiring much- needed medications, one scientist stating:
...for the great majority of disease entities, the animal models
either do not exist or are really very poor. The chance is of
overlooking useful drugs because they do not give a response to the
animal models commonly used.
Innumerable animal-tested drugs make it to market, and then cause
problems. It is well accepted that approximately 100,000 deaths per year
from legal drugs, and approximately fifteen per cent of all hospital
admissions are caused by adverse medication reactions. In one decade
more than half of all newly approved medications were either withdrawn
or relabeled by the FDA secondary to severe unpredicted side effects.
All of these drugs had undergone extensive animal testing!
Clearly, the animal testing protocol works against human safety. It
also diverts valuable research dollars away from solid human-based