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Lewis & Clark Law School Animal Legal Defense Fund

Elizabeth Baker, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Speaks to SALDF

October 16, 2017

On Monday, October 16, Elizabeth Baker, Esq. spoke to our SALDF chapter about her work with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Ms. Baker was introduced by LC SALDF’s Pro Bono Chair, Megan Amos. Megan interned at PCRM this past summer and, fortunately for LC SALDF, used the connections she made there to bring Ms. Baker to a LC SALDF Speaker Series event. 

She addressed the need to modernize drug development to save both human and animal lives. She pointed out that 95% of drugs that pass preclinical tests later fail in humans and adverse drug reactions are the 4th leading cause of human deaths in the United States. She used an example of a volunteer who had died as a result of participating in a clinical trial. The drug at issue was thought to be safe in animals, but it was not an accurate predictor in humans and was dangerous and, in this case, fatal.      

Elizabeth pointed out that many types of animals are used in preclinical testing including dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, pigs, fish, mice and rats. There are existing as well as developing alternative methods to animal testing. These human-biology-based methods are providing accurate results to researchers and hope to patients. She also introduced students to her strategy to join forces with researchers, drug companies, and patient advocates to analyze how to change the drug development system. The Preclinical Initiative for Patient Safety (PIPS) held its first roundtable earlier this year and is now working on a publication. We are thankful that Elizabeth was able to share her expertise with us and stressed the importance of reforming the drug development process for both human and nonhuman animals. 

For more information on Elizabeth Baker: https://www.pcrm.org/media/experts/bios/elizabeth-baker-esq

And Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: https://www.pcrm.org/