Statement of John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C.:
I’m a physician and former animal researcher who has been paying close attention to the Institute of Medicine meetings on chimpanzee experimentation, and it’s clear to me that the strongest arguments made during these meetings are those made against the use of chimpanzees.
A remarkable result of questioning from committee members has been the reluctant admissions from National Institutes of Health representatives and researchers that chimpanzees are NOT necessary to advance research for HIV/AIDS, cancer, neuropsychiatry, malaria, respiratory syncytial virus, monoclonal antibodies, biodefense, and drug development. These are all areas where chimpanzee research has been called "essential" for many years by these same scientists—and this about-face suggests that chimpanzees are not essential for any area of human disease research.
The GlaxoSmithKline speaker explained how the company does its drug development without chimpanzees, and proof of concept for hepatitis C is provided by the fact that both recently approved hepatitis C protease inhibitors (from Vertex and Merck) were approved without the use of chimpanzees. Hepatitis C seems to be the last area of legitimate dispute, and the successful concurrent use of in vitro and ex vivo methods strongly suggests that chimpanzee use is not essential for this research either.
The toothless arguments for continuing chimpanzee research have been exposed. This research has shrunk precipitously in the last decade, and it is now time to end chimpanzee experimentation and focus on methods that are humane and human-based.
For an interview with Dr. Pippin, please contact Jeanne S. McVey 202-527-7316.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.