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Safer Medicines Campaign

Safer Medicines Campaign is comprised of doctors and scientists whose concern is whether animal testing is more harmful than helpful to public health and safety. We protect human health by promoting safer research.

Tel: 020 8265 2880

Drug disasters in the past prompted new laws to protect the public but today the Government accepts this vast pharmaceutical carnage as a fact of life

MPs call for safer medicines

It is a cruel irony that side effects of prescription  medicines designed to help us are now a leading cause of death, hospitalising  a million Britons, killing more than 10,000 and costing the NHS £2 billion  every year.Drug disasters in the past prompted new laws to protect the public but today the Government accepts this vast pharmaceutical carnage as a fact of life.

One explanation for the poor safety record of so many  drugs is the reliance on safety testing in animals. The Government insists  that all new drugs are shown to be safe in two species of animals before they  can be given to humans.  However, overwhelming evidence shows that new  technologies based on human biology are more accurate and reliable; they are  also a much faster and cheaper option.

In the infamous ’elephant man’ clinical trial at  Northwick Park Hospital in 2006, six young men were almost killed by a drug  after it had been shown to be safe in monkeys - even at 500 times the dose  given to the volunteers. Since 2006, tests using human cells have been  developed which can predict the terrible effects suffered by the volunteers,  something which has not been possible with animal  tests.

Leading scientists agree that the best model for human  drug development is based on human beings; yet animal tests have never been  compared with the latest human biology-based methods. Many MPs now agree it is  time they were. 

A cross-party group of MPs has launched the Safety of  Medicines Bill, which calls on the Government to compare animal tests and  human biology based methods, in order to determine which is the safer option  for protecting patients. If animal tests are superseded then patients, the  NHS, pharmaceutical companies and laboratory animals are all set to  benefit.

Brighton Pavilion MP, Dr Caroline Lucas, says: ‘More  reliable methods will benefit everyone. A national strategy to replace  outdated animal tests is urgently needed to improve the safety of  medicines’.

A comment from Dr Francis Collins,  Director of the US National Institutes of Health, says it all: “It’s slow.  It’s expensive. We are not rats and we are not even other  primates”.

Indeed we are not – yet, as Safer Medicines Patron, actor and  thalidomider Mat Fraser points out: "Animal testing makes all of us guinea  pigs".

We  must move safety testing into the 21st century, for all our  sakes.

You can help!

Please ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 475 (Safety of Medicines): contact Safer Medicines Campaign for a pre-written postcard: PO Box 62720, London SW2 9FQ, 020 8265 2880,

What we are calling for

  • Safe and  effective treatments for  patients as soon as possible 
  • Open  discussion of the key  scientific questions at the heart of this controversial  issue,  separately from the associated highly-charged ethical  issues.
  • Independent  scientific evaluation  of the utility of animal tests for drug safety:  something which 250  MPs and 83% of GPs have also called for. The effectiveness  of animal  tests has never been measured against a panel of state-of-the-art   techniques based on human biology. We propose a unique comparison  between the  two approaches, the case for which is compelling: 


Video: Safer Medicines Trailer

Contact Details

Tel: 0208 265 2880

Safer Medicines
PO Box 62720,
London SW2 9FQ



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