19th January 2016
French drug testing disaster
Minister claims chimpanzees used to test drugs first
Cruelty Free International and our partners in the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) are very concerned to hear the news from France on the tragic drug trial for Portuguese pharmaceutical company Bial at the University Hospital in Rennes.
We are also alarmed by reports in The Guardian accredited to the French Health Minister Marisol Touraine that the drug had previously been tested on chimpanzees. Using chimpanzees in experiments in the EU is banned, and is becoming less common in the U.S. and across the world.
As we wait to hear more on the condition of the volunteers, as well more details on the reasons for the tragedy, we can at this stage only speculate if this is sadly yet another example of the failings of animal experiments to accurately and reliably predict the effects of drugs on humans.
A shocking 95% of drugs fail in human trials despite promising results in animal tests – whether on safety grounds or because they do not work. This statistic indicates that animal experiments are not only unethical, but that using animals to test drugs for humans is not scientifically justifiable either.
While it is thankfully rare for volunteers to fall seriously ill during phase 1 trials, there is clear evidence that experimenting on animals does not work and we strongly urge the pharmaceutical industry to look towards more modern and effective solutions for testing drugs.