Few Rules And Fewer Protesters Draw Animal Testing To China
Opposition from animal rights groups in the United States, Europe, and India are causing drug companies to outsource research work to China, which has an abundance of lower cost scientists and where there is less resistance from animal rights protesters due to the authoritarian state, according to this Boston Globe syndicated article.
Beijing is becoming a leading biotechnology center and offers attractive benefits to international drug companies who face opposition from animal rights groups at home. China is the world’s largest supplier of monkeys and dogs (primarily beagles) used for experiments.
Consequently, large pharmaceutical companies like Novartis, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Roche plan to set up research centers in China, but more growth is expected to come from mid-size drug companies that will outsource their animal testing or pre-clinical trials to companies that set up facilities in China, using Chinese researcher to conduct the work. U.S. regulations require drug testing on two species before submittal for approval by the FDA. A number of companies like Bridge Pharmaceuticals have set up Beijing facilities, ostensibly designed to meet U.S. standards on animal care.
Advocates of animal rights in China are not openly militant due to the presence of the government. The first animal welfare regulations were enacted in Beijing in 2004, and they are ineffective and inconsistently implemented. Animal rights organizations in the United States are still likely to hold companies accountable for actions of their contractors overseas.