Commission approves modern animal-free testing for drugs

In a step that would spare animals from suffering due to drug experiments, the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission has approved modern, animal-free tests for drug manufacturers. In the 2018 edition of Indian Pharmacopoeia, that provides guidelines on tests for drugs manufactured and marketed in India, the IPC has replaced the pyrogen test carried out on rabbits and the abnormal toxicity test carried out on guinea pigs and mice with tests that can be done in test tubes.

The guidelines in the edition will come into effect from July 1.

The pyrogen test is carried out to check impurity or substance that can cause adverse side-effects. For the test, the drug is injected into a rabbit and the animal is closely observed for feverish symptoms.

The abnormal toxicity test is carried out to check potential hazardous biological contamination in vaccine formulations.

This batch test is done before the product is approved for marketing. In this, mice or guinea pigs are injected with the vaccine. The scientists observe if there is death of any animal.

Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) is an autonomous institution of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which sets standards for all drugs that are manufactured, sold and consumed in India. The set of standards are published under the title Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) which has been modelled over and historically follows from the British Pharmacopoeia. The standards that are in effect since December 1, 2010, is the Indian Pharmacopoeia 2010 (IP 2010). The Pharmacopoeia 2014 was released by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on November 4, 2013.

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