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Viagra Friday, 12 March, 1999, 17:01 GMT
Dogs mutilated in Viagra test
Pfizer says the tests could not have been done on humans
Drug company Pfizer has admitted carrying out tests on Viagra that involved mutilating dogs' genitals but defended the experiments as essential.

The research on the impotence pill was carried out at Pfizer's UK laboratories in Sandwich, Kent after earlier tests on humans.

Demand for Viagra is high around the world
Animal rights groups are outraged at experiments, which involved removing the foreskins of the anaesthetised beagles and then giving them shocks with electrodes inserted into the centre of their penises.

The company, which also carried out tests on rabbits, rats, mice and monkeys in Bristol, put the dogs down afterwards.

Details of the experiments were first published in the Journal of Urology, a publication of the American Urological Association, in an article titled: "Effect of the selective phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor sildenafil on erectile function in the anesthetized dog."

Pfizer spokesman Andy Burrows defended the tests, saying some effects of any new drug could only be tested by using animals.

"Every single pharmaceutical that has ever been made legally has to go through animal testing," he said.

The research was detailed in the Journal of Urology
"You can't get a product licence for a medicinal compound if you don't do a certain amount of animal experimentation."

He rejected the charge that the experiments were particularly offensive because Viagra is not a life-saving drug.

"Are we to say that you can only produce medicine for cancer or heart disease?

"Ninety per cent of a GP's consultations are for non-life threatening conditions and each and every medicine a GP hands out for these conditions has been tested on animals."

The researchers used the electric shocks to test the firmness of the bugle's erections after administering varying doses of Viagra.

Anti-vivisection groups are outraged as Viagra is not a life-saver
Mr Burrows said: "In this particular experiment, the animals are fully anaesthetised and are kept under anaesthetic. They do not feel anything.

"These particular experiments could not have been carried out on humans. They were necessary and the Home Office fully agreed with that."

But the RSPCA said it planned to look into the experiment to determine whether they had inflicted unnecessary pain, while the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection promised to lobby the Home Office to find out why it had permitted the tests.

Sarah Kite, of the BUAV, said: "We are appalled that experiments of this nature have been carried out.

"These beagles have been mutilated in grotesque experiments for a drug which has no life-saving use."

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