Europe. Press Release
Europe welcomes recent French media reports warning the public about dangerous
Europe welcomes recent media reports warning the public about dangerous
medicines (the latest are the drugs mediator and buflomedil). The French-based
NGO fully endorses this latest expose that reveals the enormous gulf between
reliable scientific methods and some of the currently used tests, which
are hopelessly out of date.
medical drugs are required to undergo extensive animal testing, even though
animals cannot reliably predict what will happen in a human. This message
was clearly brought home by the near fatal Northwick Park clinical trial
involving six young men, who received an experimental drug at one five hundredth
the dose found safe in monkeys. While cases like this are relatively rare,
the rate of adverse drug reactions in the general population is far greater.
In fact, nine out of ten drugs that pass animal tests fail to make it through
clinical trials involving people (1). This begs the
question of why our regulatory authorities still require animal tests.
Rather than protecting the public it seems that animal tests actually allow
many toxic products to slip through the safety net and reach the market.
As a result, about 20 thousand people die of adverse drug reactions in France
every year (2), making adverse drug reactions the
fourth leading cause of death.
regulatory authorities must bear the major responsibility for the current
situation, at a time when modern scientific methods are available, including
such techniques as toxicogenomics and human DNA studies. See http://antidote-europe.org/campaigns/28-chemicals.
The use of such techniques could prevent further drug tragedies. The use
of human DNA brings us ever closer to the application of “personalised
medicine”, where drugs are tailor-made to suit the individual, thus
reducing the risk of an adverse reaction. When it comes to the safety testing
of drugs and other chemicals people clearly are not 70kg rats.
Lester Crawford deputy commissioner FDA, quoted in The Scientist (6.8.2004)
“Innovation or Stagnation, Challenge and Opportunity on the Critical
Path to new Medical Products”.
(2) Le Monde, 13 November 1997, quote by Bernard Kouchner, secretary of
state for health.