Abbott is committed to minimizing the role of animals in research and maintaining the highest standards of humane care and treatment.
Following the separation of Abbott's proprietary pharmaceuticals business into an independent, publicly traded company in 2013, Abbott's use of laboratory animals has significantly decreased. However, the FDA and other regulatory agencies still require animal safety and efficacy data for many of the innovative products we bring to patients today. We also have an ethical obligation to fully explore the potential health benefits and risks of our products before they are used by patients.
Abbott consistently works to develop new testing methods and programs to eliminate or minimize the need for animal models. Additionally, when animal tests are required, we strive to minimize the number and frequency of tests.
Advancing the 3R's
Abbott employs the 3Rs approach to animal research by looking for ways to Replace, Reduce and Refine the use of animals. Whenever possible, we adopt alternatives to animal research by:
- Replacing the need for animal testing through non-animal research methods
- Reducing the number of animals used in any conducted tests to the minimum necessary for valid results
- Refining experimental procedures to avoid or minimize pain or distress
Our Standards and Policies
Abbott’s laboratory animal research programs and facilities meet or exceed U.S. and European Union regulations, as well as those in other countries. For more than 35 years, Abbott also has maintained accreditation from the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC), the organization that helps ensure optimal practices as set forth in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and other international standards and regulations for animal welfare. AAALAC accreditation is entirely voluntary and is widely considered to be the preferred method to meet and maintain high standards of animal care and use.
Abbott’s Corporate Animal Welfare Committee, comprised of animal welfare experts from across the company, guides our position and global policies on animal use. Moreover, Abbott’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee serves as a review board that independently evaluates and approves our internal scientific protocols before animal studies can begin.
Abbott’s Global Animal Welfare Policies guide our internal processes and protocols. Our work with animal-related suppliers and contract laboratories is guided by both our Global Animal Welfare Policies and Abbott’s Supplier Guidelines – including the expectation that animal use in any testing or process should occur only after alternative methods have been fully explored and rejected. We work with contract laboratories that are either accredited by AAALAC or we perform welfare assessments to ensure they meet our high standards for animal care
To complement our own efforts, Abbott also has provided funds in recent years to a number of organizations focused on promoting the 3Rs and raising awareness of the importance of responsible biomedical research.