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Patients: Pre-clinical testing

Smith & Nephew is required by law to test the safety and efficacy of its new medical device products to ensure that they are safe for patients.

In certain instances Government regulations require animal testing to be conducted as part of the product approval process. When totally new products are being developed to treat serious medical problems, it is clearly necessary to ensure that they are both safe and effective for human use. Sometimes it is possible to gain an assurance of safety from non-animal evaluation methods only and this approach is adopted where possible. However, there are still some critical situations where no model other than an animal model can adequately provide the quality of evidence needed to comply with statutory requirements and the evidence required by medical practitioners prior to using a new surgical technique or product on their patients.

Smith & Nephew has for many years adopted a strong ethical policy on the use of animals in its research and development work. Wherever possible we use known safe ingredients that require no further testing and in the development of new medical products we use non-animal methods of evaluation wherever possible.

Smith & Nephew also supports external groups dedicated to identifying alternative non-animal methods of testing. We support and sponsor the work of the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) to help to improve standards of Animal Welfare and avoid unnecessary animal testing in the evaluation of medical devices.

We also support, and have membership of, the In Vitro Toxicology Society (IVTS). This society is dedicated to developing, using and gaining regulatory acceptance, wherever possible, for non-animal methods in safety evaluation of a broad range of medical product areas.