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FDA reviewing animal studies in wake of monkey deaths

JAQUELINE HOWARD: ‘A decision by the US Food and Drug Administration to shut down a nicotine addiction study has stirred debate about what the future holds for medical research on animals. The agency ended the study after the deaths of four squirrel monkeys involved in the research. The study — intended to investigate the role that various levels of nicotine play in the onset of nicotine addiction in teens and young adults — had been placed on hold and put under review to determine the safety and well-being of the animals involved. Now, the 26 remaining animals will be placed in a permanent sanctuary home, and the FDA is working to establish an Animal Welfare Council to oversee all animal research under the agency’s purview, Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement…

In 2014, the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research moved forward with a study to examine the behavioral and biological effects of nicotine in squirrel monkeys and to better understand how reducing levels of nicotine would impact them. After learning about the study, the White Coat Waste Project, an advocacy group working to stop taxpayer-funded animal experiments, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents and additional materials related to the study. The group claimed that the response it received didn’t comply with its request, and in August, it sued the FDA. In September, world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall wrote a letter to Gottlieb indicating that she was “disturbed” and “shocked” to learn that the agency was still performing nicotine addiction experiments on monkeys’. SOURCE…

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