The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is seriously contemplating to explore the possibilities of replacing drug testing on animals with alternative no animal testing methods. This move aims at curbing the misuse and torture of animals used for animal testing and for safeguarding their interests as ethically required.
In lines with this, the drug controllers office is working very hard with the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) to replace some of the existing monographs with the alternative modern methods which includes sophisticated tests using human cells and tissues known as ‘in vitro’ methods. While serious thought is also given to adopt advanced computer-modeling techniques referred to as in silico models, and studies with human volunteers.
Dr G N Singh, DCGI informed that since new technologies are available with immense potential to provide conclusions even more accurate than those from animal testing, serious thought should be given to encourage gradual withdrawal of use of drug testing on animals whenever possible. He further stressed that it is with this vision that the Central Drugs Control Organisation (CDSCO) has dedicated the 2014 as ‘patient and animal safety year
“We envision to protect the lives of all the living beings in the country and for that all steps will be taken pro-actively to enhance good governance by strengthening regulatory mechanism further. We understand that experiments on animals are unethical and cruel and we are going to make sure that all steps are being taken to avoid cruelty against animals by ensuring stringent adoption of good laboratory practices (GLP) in all the manufacturing units across the country and also while conducting clinical trials etc,” Dr Singh pointed out.
Interestingly, in a landmark decision, India become the first country in South Asia to ban animal testing for manufacturing cosmetics last year. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is now required to set down standards to meet the new requirements while the DCGI will make relevant amendments in acts and laws.