Ipsen to end animal testing of its botox product


The BUAV is delighted to report that Ipsen has confirmed that it intends to end batch testing of their botulinum (botox) products by the end of 2014. The company confirmed this in a meeting this week with our European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) Belgian member, GAIA.

The BUAV and its European coalition, the ECEAE, have been campaigning since 2009 to urge Ipsen to end the cruel poisoning tests that it conducts on its botulinum toxin products, Azzalure and Dysport. The products are widely used in cosmetic surgery to remove wrinkles. In November 2009 the BUAV exposed the cruelty involved in the testing of these products when it went undercover at the company's testing facility Wickham Laboratories in the UK.

The BUAV's investigator witnessed mice being injected into their abdomens with the toxin and, depending on the dose, suffering the effects of  paralysis and respiratory distress. Many of the animals died within days from their symptoms, those who did not were killed anyway. The test is performed to determine the average lethal dose sufficient to kill 50% of the animals which is used as a measure of strength of each Dysport vial. This testing is done for each batch of Ipsen's products and involves hundreds of mice each time. The laboratory in the UK is licensed to use up to 70,000 mice for this purpose alone.

Following public pressure on Ipsen to replace this cruel test, as a result of the BUAV investigation, the company has now announced that it hopes to replace the tests with a non-animal alternative by the end of 2014.  Ipsen’s competitor Allergan has already had an alternative approved and has pledged to ensure its animal use will decline by at least 95% by the end of 2014.

BUAV and ECEAE Chief Executive Michelle Thew said, “We hope that 2014 will finally see the last of these agonising tests for a product that is primarily used for cosmetic purposes.  This reflects the strength of the BUAV and ECEAE's joint European campaign, covering virtually every country in the European Union, and shows that persistent campaigning makes a real difference. We shall hold the companies to account to ensure that the promises are delivered.”