International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals

History of Animal Experiments

5: Adverse Reactions Drugs

Other surveys have shown that most of the adverse reactions occurring in people when they take a drug cannot be predicted by animal experiments.(9) Tests to identify cancer-causing chemicals have been particularly suspect. An editorial in the February 1980 edition of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences referred to carcinogenicity testing in the United States as "a national catastrophe."Although at the same time costing the National Cancer Institute $65 million a year, no studies had been carried out to validate the results from animal experiments. Subsequently an investigation by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer asked whether rodent tests could have successfully predicted the chemicals already known to cause cancer in people. Animal tests gave the correct answer in less than half the cases and it was concluded we would have been better off to toss a coin!(10) Perhaps this is the reason so little credibility is given to the results of carcinogenicity tests. Anticancer drug Farlutal and acne treatment Diane are examples of medicines put onto the market despite causing cancer in animals, the manufacturers stating in their literature that the relevance to humans is unknown or has not been established.(11)


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