Safer Medicines Campaign is an independent patient safety organisation of scientists and doctors with extensive expertise in drug development. Our aim is to change the way medicines are tested, so they are safer for humans: moving from a system based mainly on tests on animals to one focused firmly on human biology. Adverse drug reactions kill 197,000 people in the EU every year and more than 100,000 in the US. The time for action is NOW!
Safer Medicines Trust is a registered charity (number 1039411). We have hosted international conferences at the Royal Society and the House of Lords, showing the benefits to drug safety and medical progress offered by a focus on human, rather than animal biology.
WHAT we are calling for
- Safe and effective treatments for patients as soon as possible
- Open discussion of the key scientific questions at the heart of this controversial issue, separately from the associated highly-charged ethical issues
- Independent scientific evaluation of the utility of animal tests for drug safety. The effectiveness of animal tests has never been measured against a panel of state-of-the-art techniques based on human biology. We propose a unique comparison between the two approaches, the case for which is compelling.
WHY we are calling for it
There is alarming evidence that animal tests fail to protect us:
- Six young men at Northwick Park hospital were nearly killed by a drug which they were given because it had been ‘proved safe’ in monkeys
- Arthritis drug Vioxx – the greatest drug catastrophe in history – killed up to 140,000 people after being ‘proved safe’ in animals, including monkeys
- 92% of new drugs successful in animal studies go on to fail in clinical trials, as at Northwick Park – sometimes injuring or killing volunteers and patients
- Extensive studies of animal tests’ ability to predict drugs’ and chemicals’ potential to cause cancer and birth defects have found them to be ineffective
- Scientists are increasingly lamenting the failings of animal studies. Cancer Research UK acknowledges: ‘We do trials in people because animal models do not predict what will happen in humans’. See more quotes here.