U.S. Representatives Scott Perry (PA-10), Brendan Boyle (PA-2), and Madeleine Dean (PA-4) introduced H.R. 8736, the bipartisan Alternatives to Animals for Regulatory Fairness (AARF) Act, to modernize the drug approval process and eliminate unnecessary and harmful testing on animals.
Under current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules, pharmaceutical companies subject thousands of dogs and other animals to painful and inaccurate drug safety tests annually, even though government scientists acknowledge that over 90 percent of drugs that pass these tests fail in humans because they’re ineffective or harmful.
The AARF Act ensures that pharmaceutical companies are allowed to use high-tech and humane alternatives to outdated and burdensome testing on dogs and other animals to fulfill FDA regulatory requirements.
“Current government policies that force pharmaceutical companies to waste time and money on outdated animal testing must immediately be eliminated,” said Congressman Scott Perry. “I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort to leverage modern technology and improve our drug approval process to benefit patients, protect animals, and accelerate medical innovation. I thank Representatives Boyle and Dean for their partnership on this commonsense solution to bring cures and treatments to market while also protecting dogs and other animals.”
“We applaud Reps. Scott Perry, Brendan Boyle and Madeleine Dean for introducing the AARF Act to save dogs and other animals from wasteful and cruel government-mandated experiments, allow drug makers to avoid needless animal testing, and get consumers safe drugs more quickly and inexpensively, a call with particular urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Justin Goodman, vice president of advocacy and public policy at taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project.
"While other agencies in the FDA's regulatory ecosystem have aggressively sought to leverage technological advances to eliminate their reliance on animal testing, the FDA lags behind them, the broader science community, and the American public,” said Mihael H. Polymeropoulos, M.D., President & CEO, Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. “By not changing its outmoded approach of forcing companies to conduct unnecessary tests on dogs, the FDA not only misses the opportunity to improve safety, but also pointlessly impedes the delivery of innovative new drugs to patients who need them."
Technological advances have allowed for the development of more effective and humane alternatives to animal testing, including organs-on-chips technology being developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. A June 2020 national poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies found that two-thirds want the FDA to allow drug companies to use modern alternatives to animal tests. The AARF Act will enact these changes and allow our drug developers to leverage modern technology and eliminate unnecessary animal testing.
The AARF Act was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee where it awaits consideration.