Pfizer Guidelines and Policy on Laboratory Animal Care
When Pfizer Uses Animals for Biomedical Research
Pfizer is dedicated to helping people live longer, healthier lives through the discovery and development of breakthrough medicines and therapies. Animal-based biomedical research in the pharmaceutical industry remains a vital component of the discovery, evaluation and regulatory processes, which lead to the development of products that save or improve human lives throughout the world. Pfizer’s Animal Care and Use policy reflects our absolute commitment that all animals used by our business are treated humanely. This means that any research involving animals is conducted only after appropriate ethical consideration and review. This review ensures that we provide a high level of care to all animals used, and that a scientifically appropriate and validated alternative to the use of animals is not available.
Why We Conduct Animal-based Biomedical Research
Pfizer is ethically and legally obliged to rigorously evaluate potential new medicines and therapies. Many of these evaluations can be, and are, accomplished by techniques that do not require the use of animals. However, given the present state of scientific knowledge, testing potential new medicines and therapies in animals is frequently critical to their evaluation, and is required by regulatory authorities worldwide to ensure the quality, efficacy and safety of the medicines we discover.
Pfizer’s Commitment to Ethical and Humane Treatment of Animals
Pfizer accepts its responsibility to use animals in a humane and ethical manner and expects all Colleagues to treat animals with respect. We approach the use of animals in our business with a high level of humane and ethical concern for those animals. All use is carefully planned and conducted in such a way as to minimize or avoid pain, distress, or discomfort to the animals. Every proposed use is thoroughly evaluated before being undertaken as the health and well-being of all animals under our care is a primary concern. Similarly, we expect any third party organization we engage to conduct animal based research on our behalf to adhere to this Policy and to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
Pfizer’s Commitment to Alternatives to Animal-based Biomedical Research
Pfizer is fully committed to the development and use of scientifically validated alternative testing methods that are acceptable to regulatory authorities and do not compromise patient safety or the effectiveness of our medicines. Pfizer continues to engage in and lead cross-industry efforts aimed at developing and refining new in-vitro testing and predictive informatics-based systems that hold promise for future reduction of animal usage. Pfizer works directly with regulators and through pharmaceutical trade organizations to increase the recognition and acceptance of alternative models where such alternatives can be used appropriately.
For as long as it remains necessary to use animals in the discovery, development, evaluation and production of new medicines, we commit to maintaining high standards in the humane treatment of these animals. Significantly, we embrace the principles known as the “3Rs” of animal research first proposed in 1959 by Russell and Burch to describe the use of alternatives in animal research. These are:
Replacement of animal experiments with non-animal experiments such as mathematical models, computer simulations, and in vitro biological systems wherever appropriate; and where animals must be used;
Reduction of the numbers of animals used in each study, and of the number of studies involving animals, to the absolute minimum necessary to obtain valid results and achieve our research objectives; and
Refinement of procedures involving animals to minimize the potential for pain and distress.
In addition to the 3R’s, and to further assure we maintain high standards for our animals, we have adopted the following guidelines:
- When animal experimentation is necessary, great care is taken to choose the most appropriate animal species for the research and to optimize the study design to ensure that the results will be as meaningful as possible.
- Non-human primates will only be used when scientifically justified, for example in cases where other species will not provide sufficiently close analogues to the biological pathways and responses expected in humans.
- All studies are carefully designed to gain the maximum information from the fewest number of animals possible.
- Each proposed use of animals is reviewed and approved by a panel of objective experts prior to performing any experiments to ensure that the use of the animals is consistent with sound scientific practices and ethical considerations.
- Our standards of animal care and welfare meet or exceed those required by applicable local, national, or international laws and regulations.
- We regularly monitor our animals for signs of ill health or distress and take prompt action wherever appropriate. We make veterinary care available to our animals at all times.
- Our veterinarians and scientists evaluate every proposed animal procedure with an emphasis on eliminating or minimizing any potential for pain or distress which may be experienced by the animals.
- We train all Pfizer colleagues involved in the care, welfare and use of animals to ensure (a) that they are competent in the care of the animals and in the procedures required to complete the proposed work; (b) that they are aware of the ethical issues involved in the use of animals; and (c) that they demonstrate respect and humane treatment towards the animals in their care.
- We expect our contract research organizations, collaborators and vendors to maintain similar high standards. Parties conducting animal based research for Pfizer at their facilities are required to adhere to this policy and to comply with all applicable laws and regulations. We perform welfare audits of third party facilities in accordance with our quality assurance policies.
- Because respect is a key tenent in our use of animals, we have also established standards regarding the use of animals in the marketing of Pfizer products. If advertisements featuring animals are used, any animal shown should be healthy and in a natural or appropriate setting. Non-human primates should not be used in the advertising of Pfizer products, and other wild animals will also not be used unless they are shown in their natural setting or portrayed through animation or computer-generated graphics.
This Policy represents Pfizer’s commitment to high-quality animal care and welfare throughout our business, and to the replacement, reduction and refinement of the use of animalsin research . We are equally committed to bringing important and safe new medicines to patients.