PETA urged DCGI to not accept data from pharmaceutical companies performing “discredited test”.
PETA approached DCGI on the matter of FST (forced swim test). PETA urged DCGI to not accept the data for the new drug development that is obtained by subjecting small animals to FST.
On 7th March 2021, DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) was approached by pro-animal groups to look into the matter of a “near drowning” test conducted by many pharmaceutical companies. The test is conducted on small animals for the testing drugs.
Known as “forced swim test” (FST), this test has come under heavy criticism from many pro-animal groups. It is performed to test the drugs used for mood disorders and depression. Many international pharmaceutical companies have already stopped performing this test.
DCGI is said to have sought the response from three pharmaceutical associations on a representation from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). PETA approached DCGI on the matter of FST (forced swim test). PETA urged DCGI to not accept the data for the new drug development that is obtained by subjecting small animals to FST. Small lab animals like mice, rats, or others are used for “widely discredited” forced swim test. Pro-animal organization have been asking to stop performing this test and to replace it with reliable human-relevant methods.
In this “near drowning test”, small animals are placed inside inescapable beakers. The beakers are filled with water and the animals are made to swim till they become immobile and starts floating after losing all their strength and energy. PETA explained, “Animals are considered to have “given up” or “lost hope” if they spend more time immobile instead of struggling during a specified period.”
The test has come under heavy criticism from many scientists. “Being immobile and floating is not a sign of depression, as claimed by some. Instead, it is a positive indicator of saving energy when under a life threatening situation.” Said PETA. While explaining further, PETA added, “Potentially, this test has probability less than 50% whether a potential medicine will have antidepressant properties in humans. The accuracy of the test is even less than a coin toss.”
Three organizations DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) is said to have sought the explanation from are Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) and the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA).