The ability of animal studies to detect serious post marketing adverse events is limited

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2012 Dec;64(3):345-9. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Sep 12.


The value of animal studies to assess drug safety is unclear because many such studies are biased and have methodological shortcomings. We studied whether post-marketing serious adverse reactions to small molecule drugs could have been detected on the basis of animal study data included in drug registration files. Of 93 serious adverse reactions related to 43 small molecule drugs, only 19% were identified in animal studies as a true positive outcome, which suggests that data from animal studies are of limited value to pharmacovigilance activities. Our study shows that drug registration files can be used to study the predictive value of animal studies and that the value of animal studies in all stages of the drug development should be investigated in a collaborative endeavour between regulatory authorities, industry, and academia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Animals
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal*
  • Pharmacovigilance
  • Species Specificity