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Success for Animals Used to Test Botox

Allergan has unveiled an alternative Botox test that will spare tens of thousands of animals

  • mouse test

    Half of all animals used in LD50 (Lethal Dose 50 Percent) tests suffocate over a three-to-four day period. istockphoto.com

Following nearly a decade of pressure from The Humane Society of the United States, Calvert Investments and concerned consumers, Allergan announced in June 2011 that the company had developed an animal-free test to measure the effects of each new batch of its signature product, Botox.

Botox is most famously known as a cosmetic anti-wrinkle product, but is also used medicinally.

Tens of thousands of animals will be spared using the new animal-free test, which is expected to reduce animal use in Botox testing by 95 percent by mid-2014 as Allergan pursues regulatory approval of the new procedure worldwide.

The test currently used to test Botox—the LD50 (Lethal Dose 50 Percent) test—measures the potency of each batch of the product by determining which dose will kill 50 percent of the animals. Many of these animals die by suffocating to death.

Persistent Pressure

The HSUS began pressuring Allergan in 2004 to develop a Botox testing method that was animal-free, while working to reduce the suffering and number of animals used in the meantime.

In 2006 The HSUS purchased stock in Allergan and subsequently submitted three annual shareholder resolutions asking other shareholders to vote to urge Allergan to provide publicly available annual updates on the company's efforts to eliminate the controversial LD50 test and replace it with a non-animal testing alternative.

In February 2010, The HSUS withdrew its third shareholder petition after Allergan reported that it had reduced animal use in its testing protocol by 78 percent, was firmly committed to developing a non-animal test to completely replace the animal-based test currently used to assess new batches of Botox, and agreed to provide future public updates on its progress.

Learn more about the history of advocating for animals used in Botox testing »

The HSUS applauds Allergan for developing an animal-free test and urges the company to swiftly pursue global regulatory approval and work with other manufacturers of Botox-like products to determine if the new test can be tailored for use in testing those products.

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