Tuesday, 07 February 2023 13:36

Budgetary control committee calls for replacement of animal testing Featured

On January 20, the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control introduced a draft decision on the discharge of the budget of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Therein, the authors point out that priority must be given to the replacement of animal testing when developing medicines.

Due to the corona pandemic, the involvement of the 3Rs Working Group was suspended in 2021. This was justified by the business continuity planning strategy, i.e., due to a lack of human and financial capacity. The draft welcomed the fact that the 3R Working Group had already resumed its activities at the end of 2022. It is expected that corresponding activity reports of the EMA would be available again in the future.

The resumption of the 3Rs group's activities may have closed a gap. Previously, in a statement of accounts for 2022-24, the European Medicines Agency had noted that new animal-free procedures had not currently given priority due to a lack of financial and human resources. The EMA's long-standing 3Rs Working Group, which deals with the non-clinical area of drug development, wanted to at least follow up on the measures that would be taken following the European Parliament's resolution of September 16, 2021.

This is welcome in order also to keep pace with the development in the USA: At the end of December 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the "FDA Modernization Act 2.0," on the basis of which the safety of drugs will no longer necessarily have to be tested on animals in the future. This could initiate a significant reduction in animal testing - a goal to which the European Parliament and more than 1.2 million EU citizens have also spoken out.

However, we must not expect too much: So far, there has always been mention of the "3Rs", that is, not only replacing or at least reducing animal experiments but also refining methods using animals to achieve better results. There is still a lot of convincing to be done here for the new animal-free methods.