Congress passes bipartisan legislation to eliminate federal mandate for animal testing for new drugs

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Laboratory animal
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Animal Wellness Action and other animal welfare groups lauded U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), for her crucial role in last week’s passage of the FDA Modernization Act 2.0.

The bill, S.5002, led and introduced by Senators Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Cory Booker, D-N.J., eliminates a federal mandate for animal testing for new drugs and holds the promise of delivering a dramatic reduction in animal testing by pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, and government agencies in the United States.

As chair of the committee with jurisdiction over health policy, Senator Murray endorsed the legislation, signaling to all Democrats that the bill warranted their support. 

Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C. and the Ranking Member of HELP, played a similar role by orienting Republicans to support the measure. 

The measure passed by Unanimous Consent on Thursday and now heads to the House, where it is expected to pass after the election.

S. 5002 also includes language from an additional proposed reform, the Reducing Animal Testing Act, authored by Senator Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., to amend the Public Health Service Act to remove the animal testing requirement for biosimilars (biopharmaceutical drugs designed to have active properties similar to drugs that have already been licensed). 

S. 5002 mirrors provisions of the original FDA Modernization Act provision approved as an amendment to S. 4348, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Landmark Advancements Act, taken up in June by the Senate HELP Committee. There as well, Senator Murray was instrumental in securing committee passage of that amendment, which was the template for S. 5002.

The House approved an FDA Modernization Act amendment to H.R. 7667, the Food and Drug Amendments of 2002, in June. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, strongly backed the legislation and was instrumental in that measure’s passage.

“Senator Murray and Representative McMorris Rodgers rightly recognize that the United States must lift an archaic animal-testing mandate for drug development and replace that strategy with 21st-century methods grounded on human biology,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action. 
“This is the biggest policy development in Congressional history on the fight to replace animal testing with morally and scientifically superior methods, and we are grateful for the crucial roles that both of these veteran lawmakers are playing on this subject.”

“It’s no small matter for the U.S. Senate to approve this major animal welfare and health-policy measure, and Senator Murray was at the center of the effort,” said Jennifer McCausland, senior vice president for corporate policy for the Center for a Humane Economy. 

“Her seniority has been pivotal in this major outcome to reboot our drug development paradigm.” McCausland is based in Seattle.

“Senator Murray’s support for reducing animal testing in the United States has been instrumental in the progress of this legislation,” added Muriel Van Housen, chair of the board of the Center for a Humane Economy. Ms. Van Housen is also a Washingtonian.

This groundbreaking legislation has the potential in the coming years to reduce the use of millions of animals and to deliver safer, more effective drugs to patients.

Data show that it typically takes 10 to 15 years and an average investment of $1 billion and up to $6 billion for a new drug. Animal tests are typically non-predictive of the human response to drugs, failing in 90 percent of human trials.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. 


Just My Opinion October 11, 2022 at 6:39 PM  

Hurray! We need to move beyond the old ideas about animals and this is way overdue. Thank you!!

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