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Animal Models - an Economic Burden.
The economic burden on society caused by the persistent use of an old fashioned method, which is now proven not to work, cannot be overestimated. Still forced by a 70 year old law to test using animal data, pharmaceutical companies write about the failure of animal models in their drug development process often and openly in the scientific literature. The consequences of animal testing for them are clear: the rate of producing NCEs (new chemical entities) is at an all time low, and the amount spent developing new medicines is higher than ever before. This current paradigm is unsustainable and results in 9 out of 10 new medicines that pass animal tests failing human patients.
The knock on effect of the above for our global society is nothing short of catastrophic. The rise in chronic illnesses, with no cures in sight, produces an economic burden which runs into many billions. For the purposes of this post, we're taking three illnesses by way of illustration: Cancer, Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis.
In 2012, two separate studies were published about the economic burden caused by rising cancer cases. Both studies concluded the need to connect the economic burden with the need to prioritise effective research, stating the studies:
'provide a background on which logical funding decisions can be made, helping
identify which areas offer the best returns from investment in research. Cancers,
for example, with the highest economic costs could offer the highest expected
returns from research investment' and 'comparisons can be made between the
burden of different diseases aiding decision makers to prioritise research funds'
BBC report on the cancer study led by Dr Jose Leal, available here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20222759
Pharma Times report on a wider European cancer study, available here
Alzheimer's Society report, 2014: Dementia UK, second edition, available here https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=418
The Financial Cost of Living with Multiple Sclerosis, available here http://www.science20.com/news_releases/financial_cost_living_multiple_sclerosis
A study of people living with the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) has provided an idea of the economic cost of living with the incurable, life-long condition. The independent research is one of the largest ever studies into the financial impact of MS and has revealed that the cost of being diagnosed with MS is on average nearly GBP 17,000 per person. Care provided informally by families accounts for more than 70% of this.
For the 85,000 living with the condition, this works out to be a total expense to the economy of GBP 1.4billion, making MS second only to tumours as the most costly brain condition across Europe. Worse still, the study found that among the nearly 2,000 people surveyed from across the UK, half said they had to leave work due to their MS, pushing the figure to more than GBP 25,000 per person when lost employment is added.
Daniel Berry, head of policy and campaigns at the MS Society, said, 'This research shows the shocking cost of living with MS'.
The selfish limits of a vested interest which is failing our wider society
Claims that animals have predictive value for humans were first institutionalised in 1847 by a French doctor called Claude Barnard, who went on to reject the Theory of Evolution. Outside the relatively small sector of society which still makes money falsely claiming animals have predictive value for human patients, it is now recognised by the wider scientific community that society at large is being harmed by animal modelling, a practice now proven to be entirely out of step with current medical knowledge. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that the animal model enterprise has become a global business with huge knock on effects for the global economy, reflected in the impact of the costs of the rise in chronic illnesses, with no effective treatments or cures in sight. SOHBR exists to address this problem with highly trained staff and leading medical expertise. The time is now and the timing is perfect; we're looking forward to the path ahead.