In the United States, we are in the midst of a health care debate in which the pharmaceutical industry disguises itself as a champion of the people. It is funding stealth organizations that support "patients' choices" and that assist in organized mob disruptions of town hall meetings. This is all a big charade to keep our health care system unchanged and their pharma profits high.
Big pharma is also involved in promoting animal research for its own benefit. It claims that it must research on animals in order to save people, but then charges such high costs for drugs to these same people that many, even in the rich country of the US, must forego them and risk their lives. But I thought people came first with these guys.
But animal research is necessary, they also claim, because there are simply no other alternatives. Come on, does big pharma really want to spend the money on alternatives to animal research? That would cost money and eat into their profits. It's so much cheaper to buy, use and dispose of a bunch of voiceless chimpanzees and thousands of rats than to invest in alternative R&D.
Here's an opinion piece in the Guardian that is another good refutation of pro-animal research arguments. The author also accuses Understanding Animal Research of being a UK front group for the pharmaceutical industry.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Exposing the Pharmaceutical Industry's Interest in Animal Research
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If the organization to which the author refers does indeed represent little more than a front for the pharmaceutical industry, then this represents extremely deceptive conduct on the part of the industry.
In fairness to the industry, the importance of medical research must be acknowledged (note: I mean medical research here, not necessarily animal research. It should also be acknowledged that not all research will lead to the successful development and commercialization of treatment which is available at prices which are affordable to consumers, even in developed countries like yours.
But, and this is a big but, I am highly skeptical about claims that experimentation on animals represents the only viable way to conduct medical research in a reliable and cost effective fashion, and I certainly hope that industry practices change over time in such a way that the use of animals for experimentation becomes increasingly less common.
That said, as long as the industry remains fixated with regard to its current practices, I fear that such a hope may be a little forlorn - much to the detriment of animal welfare.
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