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I understand that Ipsen Ltd. is working on developing a non-animal method of testing its botulinum products, which will replace the cruel LD50 method. While this is most welcome, I am sorry that such a degree of constant pressure from animal welfare organisations over many years was necessary before development of an animal-free method was started.
As Ipsen knows, the American botox producer, Allergan, has won approval for an animal-free test method in the USA, the EU and Switzerland. This shows that it is possible to move away from the method which causes so much suffering. It is simply a matter of taking the initiative to invest money in this development.
I am aware, that Merz has its botulinum products tested on mice in a contract laboratory in Hamburg. Other producers, Ipsen and Galderma, who distribute their products in Germany, also use animal tests.
According to Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 and as implemented in the UK through The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act and in Germany, §7 of the animal welfare law, there is a duty to use non-animal methods, if the desired objective can be achieved by that means. It is therefore unacceptable – both from an animal welfare and a legal perspective – that Ipsen continues to carry out animal experiments, when there is already more than one non-animal test method and such a method can be used by another manufacturer in the same field.
As I have mentioned, I am aware that Ipsen has now taken the initiative to try to develop an animal-free test method. However, I find it unacceptable that Ipsen intends to continue animal testing of its products using the heavily criticised LD50 method, and that Ipsen will continue to use laboratory animals until the non-animal method is approved in 2015 or later.
I therefore urge Ipsen to stop the use of laboratory animals with immediate effect and use one of the non-animals methods already in existence.