Special: Pet lovers hail ban


Hyderabad: Animal lovers have hailed the recent ban on testing of drugs on animals by the Drug Controller of India along the lines of the European Union. India is the first country in South Asia to initiate such a move. Bureau of Indian Standards has also seconded the ban order.
All cosmetics like anti-ageing creams, lotions for dark circles, coloured eye-liners and hair dyes are first tested on animals to assess how they would affect human skin. Such drugs are tested on guinea pigs, rats and rabbits for skin sensitivity and toxicity, oral and dermal toxicity.
These trials are normally conducted by the Research and Development wings of organised sector.  Under the ban orders, all industries in that sector will now be permitted only ‘non-animal testing and non-invasive’ methods. Which means all these industries will have to spend substantial amount of their budget on purchasing state-of-the-art equipment required for non-animal testing of drugs.
According to members of the Indian Cosmetics Manufacturers Assoc-iation, In India, pharmaceutical industries mostly test their drugs on white rats.  They, however, aren’t happy with ban order. “Banning testing of cosmetics and drugs on animals alone wouldn’t suffice. The government would also have to suggest viable alternatives because equipment requirement for non animal testing of drugs were quite costly”, said an ICMA member.
The cosmetic industry in India is worth Rs 3,000 crore and is growing by 25 per cent annually. The demand is huge but often due to very high cost of branded products, 60 per cent of the users prefer low-cost products. The market for bindis, kumkum, nail polish, lip floss, lipstick, kajal, eye-liners and hair dyes is very high in India.
The market share of these products is calculated at Rs 150 crore and is growing by 90 per cent every year. The recent order by Drug Controller of India has got the owners of pharmaceutical companies worried because they will have to spend more on equipment for research.
A researcher says, “The effect on the guinea pig is a direct indication of how it will affect the human. When a test on drugs is conducted thro-ugh equipment, accuracy is a problem. There are more chances of tests going wrong.”
The drug controller will now have to conduct random checks and also assess the method of certification for the products. When the safety verification would be carried out by them they would have to ensure that the product has been tested and certified.
Next: Animals force fed to test drug impact

Animals force fed to test drug impact
Hyderabad: Earlier animals were force-fed drugs and to test their impact on their skins and other body parts before passing those drugs for a ‘safe’ human consumption. Such a method was largely tried out to check what reaction drugs would have human skin, eyes and blood cells etc.
In some cases, adult rats were also forced-fed liquids and then mated and their effect on the progeny was checked. These cruel methods will now be stopped now that testing of drugs on animals had been banned by the government. Even testing of the ingredients like solvents, liquids, perfumes and chemicals on animals isn’t allowed.
R. Srinivas of the department of drug control said, “The methods of testing remain the same except that it will now be carried out through culturing. Those who will not comply with the non-animal me-thods of testing drugs will be fined and their licenses could also be cancelled.”

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