Humane Society International (HSI) India expressed relief and hope over the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) decision to contemplate over possibilities of replacing drug testing on animals with alternative no animal testing methods. It is understood that the Central Drugs Control Organisation (CDSCO) is giving serious thought on modernising India’s pharmaceutical safety assessment by replacing old-fashioned animal testing with modern non-animal alternatives.
The association applauded and stressed that the visionary approach to science adopted by the DCGI is appreciable, as nine out of ten experimental drugs that appear safe or effective in animal tests go on to fail in human patients because there are simply too many biological and physiological differences between the species for these methods to be reliable. Thus we strongly believe that the approach taken by Dr G N Singh who is the DCGI of the country will contribute for the greater good of the patients and animals alike.
According to Alokparna Sengupta, research and toxicology campaign manager, HSI India, “Dr Singh is showing visionary leadership in his efforts to implement transformational change in India’s science infrastructure. Moving away from outdated and unethical animal tests and aligning India’s pharmaceutical regulations with those of other leading economies is a step forward for human health, industry and animals alike. HSI has successfully worked with governments and scientists across Europe, North America and beyond, and we look forward to working with Dr Singh’s office to advance 21st century safety science in India, too.”
It is understood that with an aim to curb the misuse and torture of animals used for animal testing the DCGIs 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.
Humane Society International India has been actively advocating non-animal test approach for many years and have been conducting series of workshops and conferences across India, presenting the expertise of international scientists in modern chemical and pharmaceutical toxicity testing. One of such test is the Tox21’ the transition to high-tech, human biology-based safety testing that was recently discussed at a science workshop in Hyderabad by HSI’s president Dr. Andrew Rowan.