Drug testing on Animals and Humans

Posted by Winnie Melda on March 21st, 2019


For long, drug testing has been performed in the field of medicine and pharmacy with diverse reasons/objectives. Taxonomy of such tests has been tested on animals as well as on humans whereby these have been identified to a range of necessities as well as ethical issues. According to Monamy, drug testing refers to a technical analysis of a biological specimen, which may include urine, hair, blood, breath air, sweat, or oral fluid / saliva. This test may be done in the bid to determine the presence or the absence of specified parent drugs or their metabolites (Monamy, 2009).  Coombs and West are of the suggestion that, drug testing is an examination of biologic material (such as urine, hair, saliva, or sweat) in order to detect the presence of specific drugs and determine prior drug use. Such drug tests are also performed to detect the use of an illicit drug as well as the use of substances not permitted in specific occupations or athletic competitions. It gets also connoted as drug screening (Coombs   & West,1991). Different scientists have been involved with discussion for drug testing on animals whereas a good number have discussed a number of pro drug testing points. That has brought up a heightened debate on matters pertaining drug testing on human and animals. This paper gets dedicated to a thesis that animals and humans should be required to take a drug testing for different reasons discussed her. The paper also discusses the countering points as well as ethical issues regarding the topic.

Drug testing on Animals

According to Monamy, drug testing can get practiced for a number of reasons. He reviews the necessity of performing drug testing in non-human animals to the following. According to him, animal testing, the first relevance for testing drug in animal is the determination of the level of efficacy of a drug before being used in human. That he refers to as animal experimentation or animal research. Some animal drug-testing involves observing natural behaviors such as a mouse running a maze or field studies of chimp troops).

In the endeavor to predict toxicity, corrosivity, and other safety variables as well as the effectiveness of new medical products, animals have been used. In the traditional testing of chemicals, consumer products, medical devices, and new drugs has involved the use of animals too. The idea that new drugs should get tested for safety in animals before getting approved for human testing gets based on the assumption that animals will respond to drug tests like “little humans.” Another necessity of drug testing in animals is to achieve of ensure fairness during animal competitions. A good example of such competitions is horse racing. Apparently, Neogen's racing kits have been typically developed for the animal racing industry to aid in detecting performance-enhancing drugs as well as their metabolites in a wide range of sample matrices. Moreover, Neogen’s kits have been used in the fair, meat testing, and raw material feed testing industries to detect the quality of meat before consumption by humans. That follows a claim that, there was a tendency for humans to inject drugs meant to increase the volume of animals in order to yield higher sales to farmers and butchers (Monamy, 2009).

Prior and during performance of drug testing in animals, some principles are however inclusive to make it legitimate. Such comprises of the three Rs policy. This policy refers to a set of principles that scientists and researchers are encouraged to follow in the bid to revamp the impact of such tests on animals. These three Rs are comprised of Reduction, Refinement and Replacement. Reduction: This R entails trimming down the number of animals used in drug experiments by through improvement of experimental techniques, advancing data analysis techniques and sharing of information among researchers. Refinement: This second R entails refining or improvement of the experiment and the way animals get cared for in order to revert their suffering. That is achieved by use of less invasive techniques and implementing better medical care. Replacement: The third R entails undertaking replacing experiments on animals with alternative techniques such as experimenting on cell cultures instead of whole animals, use of computer models or use of human volunteers (Monamy, 2009).

Drug testing on human

Drug testing are also performed on legitimately human on the on the following accounts

 To scientifically prove drug efficacy: For a certain medicinal drug to be proven effective and safe, it must get tested in people. Today, such testing gets undertaken by doctors and pharmaceutical companies under a close supervision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Prior to the approval by FDA, the proposed new drug ought to undergo three phases of testing. In the first Phase, the drug gets administered to a small number of healthy volunteers to check whether it’s attributable to grave side effects. At the second phase, the drug gets given to a small cluster of sick volunteers to check for effectiveness and additional side effects. Here, a control group receives a placebo. Phase III involves the giving of the drug in question to a much larger population of sick people. That enables the obtaining of a better reading on effectiveness, the interactions with other drugs and the rare side effects. Drug testing in humans is also carried out for assurance of fairness among people. Such tests get carried out on athletes as well as in workplaces (Coombs & West, 1991).  According to report by Derse and Wilson, when  more than 267,000 drug tests were performed on athletes around the world in 2012, approximately 3200 (translating to 1.2%) of the results came back as positive. It was thus found that drug use could get attributed to forfeitures of wins or medals (Derse & Wilson, 2001). It was thus deemed necessary to perform drug tests on athletes.

Drug testing is also necessary at workplaces. The argument for this to employers is that, drug use can affect workers’ health, productivity and may impact negatively on safety in the workplace. Added to pure monetary loss, employees with drug and alcohol problems often show higher absenteeism, have higher medical costs, and are more vulnerable to accidents and injuries. The cost of drug abuse to employers has been estimated to be as high as 0 billion a year (Coombs   & West,1991). That leads to the Supreme Court to approval of employer drug and alcohol testing during the course of 1980s in the U.S under special circumstances. In addition, the federal legislation, including the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, obliges a majority of federal contractors to develop policies to maintain a drug-free workplace. Today, drug testing regulations or programs have been made mandatory for the transportation industry particularly those in sensitive positions like truck drivers, pipeline and airline crews. The Department of Defense also tests all employees in security-sensitive jobs (Coombs & West, 1991).


There have been a lot of ethical and political issues attached on drug testing on animals and human being. For the case for animals, such are on one hand considered beneficial for humanity and it is viewed morally acceptable to harm a few animals for lab purposes rather than human. An equivalent case against such tests is based on the level of suffering and the number of animals involved. This is so high that the benefits to humanity may not provide moral justification (Derse & Wilson, 2001). Another strong pro to the issue of use of animals for drug tests is that, non-human animals possess exactly same moral status as humans and are entitled to equal treatment. This cause pain to the animals means unfair demise of their quality of life. In the case of human drug testing, perhaps the largest legal, social, and economic issue is that it is an intrusive invasion of human privacy rights. To employees, it is unfeasible and may lead to unnecessary job losses. In addition, it employees view it as a source of powerlessness. To them, it as an authoritarian action which gives leaves a mark of low disgust. On the other hand, some people see drug testing as a means of safety for everyone. For instance, truck driver who is a drug user puts the lives of many innocent people at. If he hits a block and kills a people while at work, the employer is liable for the damages (Derse & Wilson, 2001).


Coombs, R.  & West, L.  (1991). Drug testing on human: Issues and options. New York: Oxford University Press.

Derse, E. & Wilson W. (2001). Doping in the elite sport: The politics of drugs in the Olympic movement. Champaign: Human Kinetics. 

Monamy, V. (2009). Animal experimentation: A guide to the issues. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press.

Carolyn Morgan is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in college research paper services. If you need a similar paper you can place your order from best medical essay service.

Like it? Share it!

Winnie Melda

About the Author

Winnie Melda
Joined: December 7th, 2017
Articles Posted: 364

More by this author