Reducing the use of recovery animals in pharmaceutical development

The NC3Rs and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have announced a new joint initiative designed to reduce the use of animals in pharmaceutical development.

The initiative is part of the response to the Coalition Government's pledge to work to reduce the use of animals in research and testing. It will focus on the use of recovery animals which are used in many toxicology studies to determine whether it is possible to recover from any adverse effects caused by the drug being tested. Rats, dogs and monkeys are commonly used as recovery animals.

More than 15 major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies from the UK, Europe and the USA as well as representatives from international regulatory bodies have signed up to take part in the initiative. Work will begin with a meeting in September.

Lord Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Health, said: "The MHRA is committed to ensuring that new medicines are as safe as possible. If we can do this whilst at the same time reducing the use of animals in pharmaceutical discovery and development then this has to be good news. I am very pleased that the MHRA and the NC3Rs will be working together with the industry and our regulatory colleagues from overseas to identify ways we can reduce the number of so-called recovery animals in toxicity testing. This could have a big impact on the Government's commitment to work to reduce animal use for scientific purposes."

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