For years Allergan, the company that manufactures BOTOX® under licence, could release it to the doctors and dermatologists who used it only after animal testing was conducted. As of July, 2011 that has changed. The phase out of animal testing begins immediately, and will be complete within the next three years. Too long in my opinion, but for government and pharma this is relatively quick.
I have to give kudos where kudos are due: Allergan has worked, and invested, to make that happen. I’m not exactly embracing Allergan, but I recognize the effort on their part and the impact this will have on millions of sentient beings.
The type of testing no longer required for this substance by the FDA is the barbaric Lethal Dose 50%, or the LD50. In this experiment’s case mice are injected with Botulinum toxin (a neurotoxin) until 50% of them are killed. The mice are injected with the toxin and suffer symptoms including impaired vision, paralysis of the body, and paralysis of the diaphragm, which leads to death by suffocation.
This is in an effort to determine what levels of the toxin are dangerous to humans. A point needing to be made here is that these tests are unreliable as the systems of humans and mice differ. The unassuming human consumers believe there has been appropriate testing for the product.
The replacement testing is “fully in vitro, cell-based assay for use in the stability and potency testing”.
Allergan’s statement on FDA’s approval of alternates for animal testing.
Animal Aid blog on LD50 and BOTOX®