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Dr Bill Durodié

spiked

we should test drugs on primates
Contribution to the spiked debate, 'Drugs and health'

Kathy Archibald, director of the self-styled Europeans for Medical Progress, must have attended a different meeting to the one I attended at the offices of the Society of Chemical Industry on 22 February 2005.

At the 'Drugs and health' event, Richard Sullivan suggested that one way around overdependence upon unreliable rodent toxicity tests would be to envisage testing upon higher mammals, including primates. Neither Diarmuid Jeffreys nor Charles Medawar dissented from this view. Sullivan conceded that this argument would upset significant social sensitivities.

As for alternatives to animal testing, even the European Union - the one that Archibald isn't a director of - recognises that these are a very long way off from being effective, let alone being likely to fully replace animal testing. Of course, that doesn't prevent the European Union, or Archibald for that matter, from calling for even more tests - including, inevitably, more tests upon animals - for substances that we have literally billions of hours of exposure data for, all in the name of safety of course.

Published on Spiked, 10 March 2005