The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has published its first report on how it is encouraging drug companies to use alternatives to animal testing in all stages of their product development and manufacture.
A new guideline for laboratories has also been created as part of the EMA’s drive towards ultimately eliminating the use of animals in the process towards gaining a marketing authorisation for a product.
The drugs safety watchdog also expects manufacturers to adopt its ‘3R principles’ towards more ethical animal testing. They are to replace animal testing with non-animal alternatives; to reduce the number of animal-based experiments where possible and, in cases where animals are used, to ensure that they face minimal stress.
The details of the moves taken by the EMA in the last two years appear in the latest report of its joint working group, which includes members of its Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use and its Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use, who are looking at ways of promoting the 3Rs across the industry in the European Union.
The EMA said its ultimate aim was to replace the use of live animals in medicine testing but that “they continue to be necessary in some areas of medical research to protect human and animal health and the environment, until further scientific advancements enable the development of adequate alternatives”.