UCL News


Letter: The limits of medical testing

17 March 2006

The report of adverse reactions to a new drug in early clinical trials shows the need for rigorous test procedures for all pharmaceuticals before they are brought to market.

Testing drugs on animals weeds out most, but not all, drugs with serious side-effects: there are no guarantees. This poses serious questions for animal rights groups who suggest that missing out the animal testing step altogether would make drugs safer. Given the 'trial and error' process in all drug development, exactly how many human lives would be considered appropriate before drug development was halted?
Professor David McAlpine, UCL Physiology, 'The Guardian' 17 March 2006