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The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) has welcomed an announcement by Allergan, a leading manufacturer of botox products based in the U.S., that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an in-vitro, cell-based assay for use in the stability and potency testing of its own brand Botox®. Allergan states that this will enable the company to reduce animal testing of Botox® by 95% (but not completely remove it from their production process).
The ECEAE has long campaigned for an end to the cruel use of animals in botox tests, calling on manufacturing companies including Allergan to stop inflicting such appalling suffering on mice and citing that there are we believe perfectly adequate non-animal alternatives to test these products.
For each batch of botox produced, numerous mice (hundreds with at least some botox products) are used in the controversial Lethal Dose (LD50) poisoning test. The mice are injected into the abdomen with the botox and then observed to see how many die. The mice become increasingly paralysed, eventually gasping for breath and, if left, will suffocate to death.
Botox is licensed in the EU as a medical treatment mainly for relatively rare conditions, but it is more commonly known for its cosmetic use. The EU has banned the testing of cosmetics products on animals since 2004, but botox products are not considered a cosmetic for these purposes, despite being used extensively as a cosmetic.
A recent investigation carried out by UK ECEAE member the BUAV at Wickham Laboratories in the UK uncovered appalling suffering inflicted on up to 72,000 mice per year testing a different botox product, Dysport®. This is despite there already being a valid test tube alternative not using live animals for the testing of Dysport® which has been used for well over a decade by a UK government laboratory.
ECEAE will now be pushing Ipsen to put in place this alternative for its products Dysport® and Azzalure® and Merz-Pharma for its product Xeomin® and Bocuture® as well as asking the European Medicines Agency (the EU regulators) to accept the new alternative for all batches of all botox products.
ECEAE Chief Executive, Michelle Thew stated: “We welcome this latest development. It is totally unacceptable that animals should continue to pay for our vanity by suffering and dying in these horrendous tests. We now call on Ipsen to stop the cruel animal testing of its botox products."
Allergan news release: http://agn360.client.shareholder.com/releaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=587234