Pending legislation that seeks to eliminate an outdated mandate for companies to cruelly test drugs and medicines on animals is gaining growing support – and funding.

The FDA Modernization Act of 2021 seeks to eliminate a mandate, established in 1938, that companies test drugs and medicines on animals prior to human tests. If passed,  the bill would allow scientists to verify the safety and effectiveness of their products using alternate means, including more reliable human biology-based alternatives. 

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee recently held a hearing about the bill as part of a larger legislative effort to promote innovation.

Then, in March, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March sought an $8.4 billion funding package to invest in critical public health modernizations – a 34 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2022.

That ask requests a $5 million investment in new, alternative methods for product testing to reduce the use of animals, whose suffering is undeniable during these tests. 

One common procedure involving animals is toxicity testing, in which animals are forced to consume or are exposed to hazardous chemicals in high doses to see the possible impacts on humans,  and often as a result the animals suffer vomiting, convulsions, paralysis, bleeding or even death.

Due to genetic differences between animals and humans, data also shows that it takes an average 10 to 15 years, and an average $1 billion, to develop a drug or treatment using animal testing that is considered “safe” enough to market to humans.

The FDA, in their budget pitch, rightly noted that “New alternative methods have the potential to provide both more timely and more productive information to accelerate product development and enhance emergency preparedness.”

The FDA Modernization Act was introduced in the House as H2565 – by Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Elaine Luria, D-Va., Nancy Mace, R-S.C., Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., and Brendan Boyle, D-Pa – and in the Senate as S2952, as introduced by Senators Rand Paul, R-Ky., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., Mike Braun, R-Ind., and John Kennedy, R-La.

Full committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), along with Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), were responsible for including the measure in the broader legislative package.

If you haven’t already, sign Lady Freethinker’s petition urging the passage of this critical Act, which is a winning situation for the animals – and for people, too.

SIGN: Stop Requiring Cruel, Unreliable Animal Tests for US Pharmaceuticals