Accolades to Dr. Patricia Fox, an Albany surgeon who has the courage of her convictions and the temerity to take on the medical community in her hometown. She wrote a stunning op-ed in the Albany Times-Union, which I will share here in a moment.
Her point is that medical testing has been made obsolete by technology and should go the way of trephining. She opposes the use of pigs at the Albany Medical Center to train young doctors how to treat human trauma victims. But it has been widely proven that testing drugs for humans on animals is also ineffective. As Dr. John J. Pippin of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recently wrote:
The Food & Drug Administration tells us that 92% of drugs tested safe and effective in animals fail in human trials, even as the cost of bringing a drug to market has reached $1 billion and validated nonanimal alternatives are ignored. The blockbuster arthritis drug Vioxx from Merck killed more Americans than died in the Vietnam War, yet it was deemed safe in eight studies using six animal species. Many drugs have had severe and even lethal effects in people after demonstrating safety in animal tests. Conversely, safe and effective drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and penicillin cause severe toxicities in animal tests.
Fox's op-ed is erudite and enlightening:
I know from firsthand experience what using animals in the classroom is like. When I was a plastic surgery resident at SUNY Downstate Medical School, it was common for schools to use live animals for a variety of purposes. In my senior year, I participated in a surgery course that used dogs. Each week, the dogs were subjected to a different operation, and like the pigs used in AMC's trauma training courses, the dogs were to be killed when the course ended.
Every day, to provide my dog with some exercise, I walked her past the guard at the front of the hospital and then returned her to a cage at the school. I grew to know her well. At the end of the course, I walked her past the guard one last time—and never returned to the lab. She was my companion for the next 12 years.
You can read the whole thing here.