The Government's establishment of a national centre to coordinate work in the 3Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement of the use of Animals and Medicines Research has received a warm welcome from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).
"The UK-based pharmaceutical industry is already at the forefront of investment and development of the 3Rs, but the Government's intention to build on the excellent work of the Centre for Best Practice in Animal Research (CBPAR) is very welcome," said Dr Philip Wright, Director of Science and Technology at the ABPI.
"We are confident that this will add further impetus to the many initiatives under way that aim to replace the number of animals used in medicines research with other methods, reduce those that still have to be used and further refine procedures to ensure even higher welfare standards.
"The industry already has good links with CBPAR and we are very much looking forward to working constructively with the new centre."
The new centre - provisionally named the National Centre for the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of Animals in Research - must retain CBPAR's practical approach to sharing best knowledge and build on the excellent networks already created between industry and academic institutions.
All research-based pharmaceutical companies must and do use alternatives to animals wherever possible in medicines research. The industry already works closely with other researchers in academia, Government-funded organisations and charities to improve and update its research methods, with information and best practice being widely shared in many different ways.
Advances in biological knowledge and new technology - much of which has come from the pharmaceutical industry - have led to big reductions in the number of animals needed in many areas of research. Over the past 20 years, the total has fallen by nearly half.
But animal research still remains an essential component of the development of a new medicine. "We are still many years away from being able completely to replace the use of animals in research," said Dr Wright. "However, I hope and believe that this new centre, working in co-operation with industry, will move us yet closer to this ideal."
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410