Wednesday, 06 July 2011 18:42

British Scientists require verification of Drug Safety Featured

In an open letter to the British government, a group of renowned doctors and scientists of Great Britain have voiced concerned about the failure of drugs and the continuosly increasing number of drug side effects.

In the open letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley on safety of medicines from 4th of July published in the magazine LANCET, they called on thne British government to intiate a comparison between human biological tests (innovative, animal-free research methods) and the currently applied animal experiments. The scientists explained that numerous new technologies would enable a greater clinical  predictive value and considerable enhancement of efficiency as well as of costs.

Furthermore it is mentioned that drug reactions have reached epidemic proportions and are increasing at twice the rate of prescriptions. The cost of new medicines is rising unsustainably, creating an ever-increasing burden on the National Health Service (NHS). Meanwhile, many increasingly prevalent diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, many cancers, and stroke, remain without adequate treatments. The major reason for the rising cost of new drugs is the fact that more than 90 per cent of them fail in clinical trials. Companies need to recoup the cost of development not only for the drug that succeeds, but for the nine others that fall by the wayside.

In the scientist´s opinion it is high time that it has to verify the efficiency of innovative, animal-free research methods. The very purpose of the proposed comparison is to initiate such an examination, which is urgently  necessary for the sake of the NHS, the pharmaceutical industry, and, most importantly, patients.

148 Members of Parliament have already signed a motion in support of this proposal.

The European Commission estimated in 2008 that adverse reactions kill 197,000 EU citizens annually, at a cost of € 79 billion.

Read more: The Lancet, Volume 377, Issue 9781, Page 1915, 4 June 2011 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60802-7