Drugs No Longer Need To Be Tested On Animals Before Human Trials, FDA Announces

Drugs in development are no longer required to undergo animal testing before receiving US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. According to a new law, signed by President Joe Biden at the end of last year, the mandate that all drugs be tested on animals before progressing to human trials has been waived.

“The FDA Modernization Act 2.0 will accelerate innovation and get safer, more effective drugs to market more quickly by cutting red tape that is not supported by current science,” Senator Dr Rand Paul of Kentucky, who introduced the act, said in a statement.

“[This] is a step toward ending the needless suffering and death of animal test subjects.”

It does not, however, mean that testing of new drugs on animals has been banned outright. Instead, it means that pharmaceutical companies can choose to veer away from animal testing and test drugs using other methods if they wish.

The new law amends the US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which was passed in 1938 to oversee the safety of food, drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics. Prior to its revision, the FDA required a drug to be tested on one rodent species, such as a mouse or rat, and one non-rodent species, like a monkey or dog, in order to gain approval.

But these animal models are expensive and often ineffective, some argue: “Animal models are wrong more often than they are right,” Don Ingber, a Harvard University bioengineer whose lab developed organ chip technology, which is an alternative to animal testing, told ScienceInsider.

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