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Tell Drugmaker Sanofi to Stop Near-Drowning Test on Animals

France-based drugmaker Sanofi has so far declined an invitation to join the right side of history by ending a pointless near-drowning test on animals that most of its competitors have already abandoned. Please help us show it the importance of doing the right thing.

Since the mid-1990s, Sanofi and its daughter company, Genzyme, have used the forced swim test on more than 1,500 small animals – 803 mice and 706 rats – to test 15 experimental compounds. None of these drugs has received approval for human use.

The Forced Swim Test Is Bad Science

It’s not surprising that the drugs haven’t been approved for human use, because the forced swim test is scientifically flawed – but what it lacks in scientific validity, it makes up for in cruelty.

Experimenters dose small animals with a test substance and put them in inescapable containers of water. The panicked animals try to escape, scratching and clawing at the sides or diving underwater in search of an exit. They paddle furiously, trying to keep their heads above water. Eventually, they'll float.

The test allegedly models human depression and claims to test the efficacy of antidepressants. It’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds.

Companies Are Abandoning the Test

Sanofi’s competitors think the test is ridiculous, too. After discussions with PETA and our international affiliates, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, AbbVie, Roche, AstraZenecaNovo Nordisk A/S, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, and Bristol Myers Squibb announced that they would no longer conduct (or fund another party to conduct) the forced swim test.

But so far, Sanofi has decided to swim against the tide. PETA and our affiliates have written to it six times in the past year, but this is all we got in return: “[Sanofi] cannot and will not comment prospectively on the use of a particular test.” The company has, however, addressed equally specific issues in the past, including by prohibiting the use of animals in sales training. It should take the same pro-animal, pro-science stance now.

Take Action

Please spare a moment to take action and urge Sanofi to join some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies in banning this worthless test.

Personalising your e-mail is best, but here’s a template you can use or amend as you wish.


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