China plans first-ever rules on animal testing in medical research by year end

Chinese authorities are drafting a national standard expected to be implemented by the end of the year to cover humane treatment of animals used in medical research, including for drug testing. The nation currently has no general rules governing animals in clinical research.

China has been under pressure for years to improve its handling of laboratory animals, much of it from academia and international organizations that establish treatment standards. The Chinese Association for Laboratory Animal Sciences counts more than 29 million used annually in research in the country, making it the world's largest breeder and user of lab animals.

The China FDA began a government move in that direction two years ago when it lifted its requirement that cosmetics be tested on lab animals. Now, the agency allows "non-specialized cosmetics" to avoid animal testing, according to China Daily.

The head of the lab animal sciences at the National Research Institute for Health and Family Planning said the standard being drafted would draw on the experiences of other countries and cover the latest concepts for handling research animals.

The global director of the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International said Chinese labs have begun to apply international standards on their own. She said drug makers may have a domestic market to please, but they also have an international market that expects them to meet international standards.

- here's the story from China Daily