Today sees the publication of the latest Annual Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals by the Home Office. The publication is a collection of statistical information regarding the use of protected animals in regulated procedures throughout 2015 in the UK.
19 Jul 2016 Posted in ABPI statement By Dr Rebecca Lumsden
In response to the report, Dr Rebecca Lumsden, Head of Science Policy, said:
"Animal research plays an important and necessary role in the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines, helping us to provide better, innovative treatments for debilitating and life threatening disease. The pharmaceutical industry uses animals to help research new medicines and global regulators, including the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), require all medicines for humans and animals to be tested on two species of animals, one rodent and one non-rodent, in order to ensure patient safety. This use is reflected in the statistics on the animals used by commercial organisations and, without their use, we would not have the effective medicines for diseases such as diabetes, asthma or cancer, which save millions of lives worldwide. However, it is important that this research is underpinned by good welfare, and seeking to replace, reduce, and refine (3Rs) the use of animals wherever possible and in the UK we have the highest standards of animal welfare in research in the world.
"The UK Animal (Science Procedures) Act goes above and beyond in ensuring that animals are only used when there is no alternative, if the likely benefits of the research are judged to outweigh the likely harms, and at an establishment with appropriate facilities to ensure animal welfare. The increase in the use of animals, including non-human primates, in research reflects the excellent and growing UK biomedical science base, which is among the strongest in the world and based, at least in part, on these robust scientific and welfare standards in the regulation of animal research in the UK.
"Currently, there are no in-vitro or computer models to fully eradicate the need for animal testing in developing new medicines and vaccines, but the ABPI and our members continue to work on the 3Rs. The ABPI are in to a 12th year of collaboration with the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs), and we continue to expand our partnership and make important strides towards further decreasing the use of animals in the development of new treatments.
"This year's figures include severity information, the second time this data has been included. This level of detail is immensely valuable to the public as it helps provide greater transparency and openness about the use of animals in research. It will also provide useful data for a comparison across the EU, which may help drive further application of the 3Rs."