You probably take an aspirin every now and then, but did you know that this medicine consists of a number of different substances? All these substances together stop your headache or fever. But this medicine undergoes extensive testing before you can take it. These tests can take up to 12 years. Here are all the steps, from demand to product.
Scientific research enables us to learn more about humans’ and animals’ bodies, and about how diseases work. Researchers discover new substances which could be effective against certain diseases.
Research on monkeys enabled scientists to develop methods for treating leukaemia such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and bone marrow transplants. This has considerably increased leukaemia patients’ chances of survival.
Animal research has enabled scientists to make a great deal of progress in discovering medicines for HIV and AIDS patients, such as antiretroviral drugs. However, HIV and AIDS are still incurable diseases.
5 RESEARCH INTO SAFETY
In order to convert these potentially effective substances into medicines, they are tested together with the pathogenic body substance to find out their ability to deal with the disease. Researchers do this using computer models. Only the effective substances go on to the next stage.
Researchers test the medicine on at least two types of mammals in order to establish a safe dose for people and animals.
The new medicine is then tested on people suffering from the disease for which the medicine has been developed. This research has to be approved beforehand by an ethics committee too.
A small group of healthy volunteers test the new medicine in order to find out its effect on the human body, as well as its side-effects. Of course, this research method is assessed by a special ethics committee.
One out of every 8 women in the Netherlands develops breast cancer. Research on rats has shown that use of the medicine Herceptin reduces the chances of recurrence or metastasis by 50% in one year.
(Animal Research Information Foundation) The Foundation gives people information on animal research in the Netherlands. This information is as objective as possible.
THE MEDICINE IS PUT ON THE MARKET
8 CLINICAL RESEARCH
RESEARCH ON HEALTHY PEOPLE
FOUNDATION OF Stichting Informatie Dierproeven
A special committee decides whether a medicine is effective enough to be put on the market. At the same time, the Healthcare Insurance Board makes a recommendation on whether the new medicine should be included in the basic health insurance package.
RESEARCH ON PATIENTS
At this stage, animal research shows what effects the new medicine produces. An Animal Experiments Committee assesses this research against the 3 Rs: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.
Stichting Informatie Dierproeven
Frogs played a major role in the development of medicine for asthma. Most asthma patients are able to lead normal lives thanks to this medicine.
British biologists William Russell and Rex Burch introduced the 3 Rs: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement. Scientists take the 3 Rs into consideration when carrying out animal research.
These effective substances are tested on cell and tissue cultures in laboratories. A lot of the substances are rejected at this stage too.
1 SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
ThE 3 Rs
Laboratory animals played a part in limiting the risks of patients’ bodies rejecting transplanted organs such as kidneys, livers and hearts.
De 3 R’s
Alexander Fleming was able to discover penicillin due to research on rabbits and mice. The discovery of this antibiotic was a major breakthrough, and is of immense importance to human and animal health.
developing medicines This is how they do it!
The aim of the Union was to provide information on animal research in order to get this research banned. The Union was the forerunner of Proefdiervrij.
Vitamin C was discovered as a result of research on guinea pigs.
(Dutch Anti-Vivisection Union)
FOUNDATION Anti-vivisectie union
FOUNDATION OF Nederlandse BOND tot BEstrijding der Vivisectie
Clinical research is carried out by administering the medicine to a test group and a placebo to a control group. The researchers do not know which human subjects belong to which group until the end of the tests. The research methods have to be assessed by an ethics committee at this stage as well
10 DOCTORS CAN PRESCRIBE the MEDICINE
Doctors can now prescribe the medicine for their patients. Doctors and patients report any side-effects (on lareb.nl), in order to increase the safety and effectiveness of the medicine even further.
You probably didn’t know that ... 38% of Dutch people take medicines prescribed by their doctors every day.
THERE ARE ABOUT 100 TO 200 MILLION LABORATORY ANIMALS WORLDWIDE.
The number of tests on animals decreased by 62% between 1978 and 2009.
Animal research for cosmetics has been banned in the Netherlands since 1997. More than 50% of young people do not know this.
60 MILLION ANIMALS A YEAR ARE USED FOR CONSUMPTION AND 583,088 FOR ANIMAL RESEARCH.
Toxic substances are always tested using computer models first before testing them on animals.
20% OF ANIMAL RESEARCH IS CARRIED OUT FOR VETERINARY MEDICINAL PRODUCTS AND DOMESTIC FARM ANIMALS, AS WELL AS FOR DOGS AND CATS.
THE EUROPEAN UNION REQUIRES ALMOST ALL PRODUCTS - NOT ONLY MEDICINES - TO BE TESTED ON ANIMALS.
No research on anthropoid apes has been carried out in the Netherlands since 2003. 95% of Dutch children are vaccinated against serious infectious diseases.
Research on laboratory animals is partly financed with money collected by charities such as the Dutch Cancer Society, the Dutch Heart Foundation, the AIDS Fund and the Arthritis Fund.
MICE ARE THE MOST FREQUENTLY-USED LABORATORY ANIMALS IN THE NETHERLANDS.
In 2009, 21% of animal research was compulsory. This research was carried out in order to guarantee the safety of foodstuffs and medicines.
Dutch researchers say that the government should take more decisive action to promote alternatives to animal research.
RESEARCHERS ENTER ALL PARTICULARS OF LABORATORY ANIMALS IN A WELFARE DIARY EVERY DAY TO ENSURE THE ANIMALS’ WELFARE.
THE NETHERLANDS IS THE FIRST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD TO HAVE A PARTY FOR ANIMALS REPRESENTED IN PARLIAMENT.
90% of human genes that are linked to diseases are comparable to those in mice.