Safer Medicines Now!

(Please note: this blog is taken from the Safer Medicines Campaign Newsletter Autumn 2011Caroline Lucas, the Green Party Leader and Brighton Pavilion MP, is a patron of Safer Medicines.)

Each year about 1 million people in Britain are hospitalised as a result of their medicines. This costs the NHS about £2 billion a year.

There is an opportunity to improve the treatment people receive and save the NHS money whilst benefiting the welfare of the thousands of animals used for testing.

The Government ignores this opportunity and allows private companies to carry on with their immoral profiteering by continuing with regulations which require medical products to be “proven” on animals but do not require similar evidence for the more sophisticated human biology. The Department of Health insists human based tests are not better able to predict adverse drug reactions in humans so testing on animals is sufficient.

Even more shocking is the report that the number of clinical trials in India by western pharmaceutical companies continues to grow due to lowering costs. The Indian government reports (based on gross under-reporting and inaccurate records) that 132 people died in 2007 from drug trials, compared to 688 in 2010. This is down to the lack of testing for human safety prior to the commencement of drug trials.

To provide an example of the difference between animal and human testing, researchers in Washington studied two drugs to treat heart rhythm disorders using mouse hearts and their results, if translated to humans, would have been a major breakthrough. It was decided to then test the drug on donated human hearts and the result was that the drug would have caused a fatal arrhythmia if it had been administered based only on animal research. The critical difference? Human hearts beat about 72 times a minute compared to the mouse hearts which run at 600 beats per minute!

How can the government sit by and let animals suffer and the NHS spend vast sums of money when human based testing prior to drug trials will save lives and improve outcomes?

Find out how to join the campaign here . Thank you.

David M. Davison

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