PMI is well aware of the public concerns about animal research and takes them very seriously.
This is why we restrict animal studies to those occasions where there are no alternatives available. We constantly review our requirements for animal studies and hope that in time we will be able to replace much or all animal testing with alternative (non-animal) methods. The majority of our activities that involve the use of laboratory animals are focused on the development and assessment of new products that may have the potential to reduce the risk of smoking related diseases. Products of this kind have been defined by the US FDA as modified risk tobacco products (MRTPs).
All of our activities are performed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations as well as internationally established best practices in laboratory animal care, to ensure that the animals are treated humanely and responsibly. Our work falls into two categories:
We conduct research to better understand the mechanisms by which tobacco related diseases develop. This understanding is important for the assessment of new potential MRTPs.
An improved understanding of disease mechanisms may also help us to assess whether the new products we are developing can reduce the risk of smoking related diseases when compared to cigarettes.
We assess their potential to reduce the disease risk when a consumer switches from a cigarette to an MRTP.
In very rare cases, we may also conduct animal testing of cigarettes if we make significant product modifications. We would only do this when absolutely necessary, for example in response to new regulations that may require significant design changes to our conventional products.
We will continue to seek ways to use alternatives to animal testing where possible. If we could do research without animal studies, we would. At present, we cannot.
We always follow the widely-recognized principles known as the “3Rs” of animal research: Replace, Reduce, and Refine.
Replace — Whenever possible, we use existing state-of-the-art approaches and methods to replace animal studies:
- In vitro biological systems;
- Advanced computer modeling technologies.
Reduce — We use the absolute minimum number of animals needed to obtain valid results:
- Investigators carefully analyze which animals are most appropriate for each study and calculate the minimum number required to obtain the necessary data.
- Philip Morris International’s Animal Welfare Committee reviews all proposed animal studies to evaluate whether the study objectives can be achieved through other means.
Refine — We use the least invasive procedures to minimize pain and distress:
- Our laboratory technicians and veterinary specialists are trained in the latest techniques to manage and care for the animals in the best possible manner.