> European Medicines Agency puts plans in place to promote animal-free testing methods
European Medicines Agency puts plans in place to promote animal-free testing methods
We urge other EU agencies like ECHA to follow suit
Posted By Stephanie on 30th September 2021
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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced yesterday that it is putting measures in place to help medicines developers reduce reliance on animal tests. Currently, tests on rats, dogs and other species are typically required before a potential medicine can enter human clinical trials. The new measures are a step towards making non-animal methods (NAMs) the standard choice for testing new medicines; a move which could save hundreds of thousands of animals each year. In the EU in 2018 alone, animals were used more than 460,000 times in tests currently required by law to assess the safety and effectiveness of potential medicines.
To achieve its goal of reducing reliance on animal tests, EMA has charged its Innovation Task Force with the responsibility of advising medicines developers on the best ways to use NAMs during the development process. Companies can access this service – which will provide scientific, regulatory and legal advice – free of charge.
According to EMA, NAMs including organoids (mini-organs), organs-on-chips and computer models, can be more predictive than animal tests and therefore better protect human and animal health and the environment. This is because NAMs are often more reliable and relevant to the populations they aim to protect than animal tests.
EMA’s drive to embrace NAMs comes from its “Regulatory Science Strategy to 2025”, which – following contributions from Cruelty Free Europe scientists – incorporated recommendations to promote the use and development of NAMs and reduce and replace animals in medicines testing.
Cruelty Free Europe’s Director of Public Affairs, Kerry Postlewhite, said: “We’re delighted that EMA is keeping the promises it made in its strategy by taking active steps to promote the use of NAMs, which – in many cases – are already outperforming animal tests in their reliability, relevance and ability to protect health and the environment. It’s time for other EU agencies, including the European Chemicals Agency, to follow suit and harness the power of NAMs.”