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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 336--337

Restructuring postgraduate curriculum in pharmacology: Time to incorporate alternatives to animal experimentation

Gurudas Khilnani1, Ajeet Kumar Khilnani2,  
1 Department of Pharmacology, Gujarat Adani Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhuj, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, GMERS Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Gurudas Khilnani
Department of Pharmacology, Gujarat Adani Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhuj, Gujarat

How to cite this article:
Khilnani G, Khilnani AK. Restructuring postgraduate curriculum in pharmacology: Time to incorporate alternatives to animal experimentation.Indian J Pharmacol 2016;48:336-337

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Khilnani G, Khilnani AK. Restructuring postgraduate curriculum in pharmacology: Time to incorporate alternatives to animal experimentation. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Jun 27 ];48:336-337
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There are scientific, social, and philosophical reasons to refine, reduce, and replace use of animals with alternatives in education, research, and drug development.[1] In response, several countries have changed laws and regulations to promote development and validation of alternative techniques for drug innovation and research. Currently, over 50 alternative methods have been validated and approved by regulatory authorities.[2] Increasing awareness that these alternatives can provide cost-effective, reliable, and accurate information which can be used for drug research in a cruelty-free manner has increased the pace of development of such methods worldwide. As a consequence, large databases are now available online to retrieve current information on development of newer methods, sources of procurement, and funding agencies which provide loans and grants for development of nonanimal techniques.[3] Alternative to animals' module is already in use for training of undergraduate students in medical schools of Czech Republic.[4]

In India, scientific and regulatory bodies such as Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Medical Council of India (MCI), and Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) have laid stress on nonanimal experimentation and put restrictions on use of animals in education. Responding to these restrictions, the animal experiments are mostly abandoned during training of postgraduates (PGs) in pharmacology. Thus, skill development is greatly jeopardized. The faculty and PGs have developed an apathetic attitude (indifference, complacency, and diffidence) instead of awakening and responding to call and developing alternative strategies.[5] Therefore, there is a need to restructure PG curriculum in pharmacology to include topics on alternative methods in education and research (current concepts, strategies, methods, and tools for teaching-learning and evaluation). The MCI has already laid down general guidelines leaving formulation of detailed curricula by curriculum committees of medical colleges to acquire comprehensive knowledge, develop skills and attitudes.[6] Obviously, it is necessary to have a uniform curriculum across our country. Recently, Badyal et al . have suggested desired modifications of PG curriculum with emphasis on major overhaul of practical skill training program.[7] To sensitize and persuade PG pharmacology teachers to become “change agents” in bringing out desired change, a number of workshops are being organized by ICMR and Mahatma Gandhi-Doerenkamp Center for alternatives to use for life science education, Tiruchirappalli, India.[8]

A major objective of PG education is to prepare skilled pharmacologists to meet the needs of both academia and industry. I feel that time is propitious to include topics on “alternatives to animal experimentations” in PG pharmacology curriculum. [Table 1] shows a representative list of objective and competency wise contents related to alternative methods and techniques, for critical appraisal and further refinement by able readership so that these are incorporated in the PG curriculum in pharmacology.{Table 1}

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Conflicts of Interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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6Available from: EducationRegulations2000.aspx. [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 22].
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