Safer Medicines - putting patient safety first

Putting patient safety first

New Scientist 12/12/12

How human biology can prevent drug deaths


Thousands of people die from adverse effects of medicines that have been tested on animals


The full article is available on the New Scientist website via the link above, and we have reproduced an excerpt here:


New tests based on human biology can predict many adverse reactions that animal tests fail to do, and could, for example, have detected the risk signals produced by Vioxx, which in animal studies appeared to be safe, and even beneficial to the heart… These innovations promise precious insights into the functioning of the integrated human system. Many are already commercially available, but they are not being embraced with the enthusiasm they merit.


Pharmaceutical companies would make much greater use of them if governments encouraged it but inflexible requirements for animal tests is a major deterrent… Many studies have calculated the ability of animal tests to predict adverse reactions to be at or below 50%.


It is a tragedy that so many suffer or die through the use of inadequately tested drugs when tests based on human biology are readily available. Yet governments continue to mandate animal tests, despite the lack of a formal demonstration of fitness for purpose, and a growing global realisation among scientists that animal toxicity tests are inadequate and must be replaced.


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