Ohno Y. Importance of research on alternatives to animal experiments in pharmaceutical sciences. Yakugaku Zasshi. 2008 May;128(5):735-40

PMID: 18451621


The Japanese animal protection law was amended in 2005 to include the 3Rs principle in animal experiments. According to this new law, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries developed announced several guidelines in 2006. These guidelines indicated responsibility of the president of each research institute conducting animal experiments to meet obligating of the animal experiment committee (AEC) and the education to be provided to scientists. About half a year after this notification, I conducted a survey on how these guidelines were put into practice in the pharmaceutical colleges and universities. I received 29 answers from 24 institutes. It seemed that every institute was following, the guidelines, however, there were many institutes where the details were inadequate. For example, questions on the existence of alternative methods and degree of distress and pain were not asked in some questionnaires sent to the AEC. Education on proper conduct of animal experiments (3Rs, methods to evaluate and decrease distress and pain, and methods of euthanasia) was not conducted in many institutes. Further improvement seems necessary.

Author's contacts: ohno@nihs.go.jp