UK Animal Research Labelling Plan Must Not Put Patients Off Treatment, Says ABPI

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Related tags: Animal testing, Pharmacology

UK Animal Research Labelling Plan Must Not Put Patients Off Treatment
UK Animal Research Labelling Plan Must Not Put Patients Off Treatment
New UK proposals to label all drugs as “produced as a result of research on animals” have met with muted response from pharmaceutical industry group, the ABPI.

The Medicinal Labelling Bill​ – put forward by UK fertility pioneer Lord Robert Winston earlier this week – aims to make clear the important role animal research plays in drug development and counter the arguments of animal rights groups who say such work is unnecessary.

Lord Winston said​ that: “It [the Bill] is designed to show the hypocrisy of those who try to pretend to unknowing members of the public that animal research can be abandoned. It is designed to help the pharmaceutical companies to put their head above the parapet.​ ”

However, despite Lord Winston’s confidence, some, like the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), are more cautious about the impact any new blanket labelling requirement is likely to have. 

The ABPI told while it “fully supports the work of the life science sciences sector to improve openness and transparency on animal research… It is essential that any modifications proposed to medicinal labelling do not inadvertently discourage patients from taking the medicines which they have been prescribed​.”

Understanding Animal Research (UAR), a UK organisation funded by academics and firms like AstraZeneca, Covance, Huntingdon Life Sciences and Pfizer that focuses on explaining why animal research is necessary in drug development, is also less sure of the benefits of this type of blanket labelling approach.

Dr Elisabeth Harley told us that : “It is too early to see what the implications would be for the pharmaceutical industry if Professor Winston’s Bill passes.

"However, it is clear that organisations conducting animal research must continue to explain the important role of animals in medical research​."

Related topics: Markets & Regulations, Regulations

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