Animal Research at Novartis
Novartis is committed to transparent reporting of the numbers of animals needed for research and developmentthe discovery and study of molecules and chemical compounds to find out if they are safe and effective for treating specific diseases. purposes.
At Novartis, 80% of the animals used in 2013 were mice and rats. Only 2% of the total animals involved were animals such as sheep, dogs, cattle, horses, non-human primates, pigs, cats, rabbits, poultry, lizards or ferrets. The remainder were species such as fish, guinea pigs, gerbils and hamsters.
An issue of particular ethical concern is the use of non-human primatesanimals such as monkeys. Novartis policy states that we will not use great apes unless required or recommended by regulatory bodies or where necessary to answer a biomedically relevant scientific question – and then only when no alternative is available. In these rare cases, such experiments must be supported by the Global Animal Welfare Committee and subsequently approved by the Corporate Animal Welfare Officer in consultation with the Chairman and the CEO of Novartis.
The welfare of the animals used in all studies at Novartis is extremely important. Only healthy animals living under stress free conditions can be used in animal studies. Good living conditions not only benefit the animals themselves, but also improve the quality of our scientific results by decreasing stress levels.
Novartis houses, cares for and feeds all research animals in a manner which is appropriate for their species. An effective team of veterinarians, biologists, animal caretakers and animal welfare officers work together to ensure that the animals are cared for in the most appropriate way at all times.
“Good living conditions not only benefit the animals themselves, but also improve the quality of our scientific results by decreasing stress levels.”
During research, all necessary measures are used to ensure minimum discomfort, distress or pain levels for the animals on every occasion (e.g. sedation, analgesiamedicines to reduce pain, also known as painkillers. and anesthesiamedicines that block sensation so no pain is felt.) – measures used to a level that a modern hospital patient might expect.
When it comes to how the animals are housed, our approach is based on the latest findings in the field of animal welfare and animal husbandry. Novartis strictly observes the requirements of the law and exceeds them in many cases.
In line with the principles of animal husbandry, animals at Novartis are housed in groups if possible and desirable for their species. Enclosures are also designed with secluded areas which enable the animals to behave as they wish. It is also now common practice to equip animal enclosures with toys and other exercise devices wherever possible.
A good example of this at Novartis is the considerable efforts that have been invested into improving the physical facilities of non-human primatesanimals such as monkeys. where they now live in groups spanning several different generations.