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Time for India to harmonize animal testing policy with US and EU, says MP

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 08-Jan-2013
Last updated the 07-Jan-2013 at 16:04 GMT

Following the announcement in Israel to ban imports of animal tested cosmetics, India may now make the bold step to outlaw such products.

Last week, Cosmetics Design announced that a law passed by the government of Israel in 2010 to ban animal testing for cosmetics products imported into the country came into being at the start of this year.

Now, it is reported that India may be planning to impose a blanket ban on testing cosmetics on animals, as the Bureau of Indian Standards (BSI) looks to revise the standard IS 4011; relating to the method of safety testing for cosmetics.

The announcement comes after Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr G N Singh met with MP Maneka Gandhi to discuss the legislation.

Harmonization with global markets

"Several developed countries have put in rules that ban testing cosmetics on animals. We are thoroughly examining them,” Singh told the Times of India.

“We don't want to be cruel to animals. If other countries don't allow it, we will also ban animal testing of cosmetics. The decision will follow a thorough examination and a strong scientific examination."

Gandhi, himself has not shied away from the subject in recent times either. Having voiced his opinion over the situation in Mauritius in conjunction with BUAV in November last year, he has also sent a letter to the DCGI giving scientific evidence supporting a ban on animal testing.

His letter stated, "on a priority, we as a nation need to go cruelty free as far as testing cosmetics are concerned."

‘Time to act’

Gandhi also cited that testing cosmetics on animals has also not been required by the US FDA and has been prohibited in the EU, so there is no need for this practice in India, and will undoubtedly affect the country given the large export market of Indian herbal cosmetics to the EU.

"It is important that India acts,” she says. “Harmonization of India's regulation with that of Europe's cosmetics regulation will ensure an immediate upgrade of India's safety standards in cosmetics testing using non-animal methods."

Gandhi said the DCGI has the power to amend rule 150-A in the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, "and the easiest way would be that you amend it to be harmonized with EU cosmetics legislation of November 30, 2009".

Dr Singh told TOI, "If animal testing of cosmetics isn't mandatory by either the US FDA or the EU, it seems unnecessary for India to have them at all."  

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