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Letters |

Regulations Governing the Use of Laboratory Animals

Charles G. Smith, PhD
JAMA. 2001;286(3):304-305. doi:10.1001/jama.286.3.302.
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To the Editor: Ms Fishbein's1 critique of the recent USDA settlement is timely and appreciated. Those of us who have devoted long careers to the discovery of new drugs know absolutely that intact animals cannot be omitted from the research process, no matter how satisfying it would be to be able to do so. The animal activists put forth the untrue and totally misleading position that there are better ways but never submit an actual plan for the development of a new prescription medication without using animals. If animals could be replaced by in vitro testing methods and computers, no company would permit their use, based on economic considerations alone. What logical and objective human would agree to consume a new chemical under study as a possible drug without knowing its safety profile in lower animals? Can there be any doubt about the illegality of such an experiment if the toxicity could have been predicted by animal testing?

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