Animal research

Animal studies continue to play a vital role in the search for new and improved medicines. We are committed to the responsible use of animals and the welfare of the animals we use is a top priority.

Rapid advances in technology in recent years have led to the increasing availability and use of alternatives to animal testing. But these alternatives cannot yet provide all the essential information needed about how a potential new medicine works on disease and the living body and what the possible side effects might be. Animal studies are still an essential part of the research process and are also required by regulators before they approve a new medicine to be tested in humans.

Our commitment to the responsible use of animals means that:

  • All our research using animals is carefully considered and justified - not only to confirm that the study is scientifically necessary, but also to ensure that it has been designed so that the minimum number of an appropriate species is used to achieve the scientific objectives, and that the minimum necessary harm is caused.
  • We work both within the company and the wider scientific community to share knowledge and learning in the replacement, reduction and refinement of animal studies, known as “The 3Rs”.
  • We have consistently high standards for animal welfare across our animal research activity wherever it takes place.

Do you engage with people outside the company on this issue?

Yes. We welcome and proactively engage in open and constructive dialogue with stakeholders and others who have a legitimate interest in our use of animals. We are also active in the debate with governments, regulators and others who influence the development of best practice within a pragmatic regulatory framework that supports the continued delivery of safe, effective new medicines.


AstraZeneca acknowledges the right of every individual to express their views on the use of animals in research but we condemn the use of violence and other illegal acts. We firmly reject any harassment, intimidation or harming of our employees and their families, our suppliers and our other stakeholders as totally unacceptable.

What's next in this section

Clinical trials

Our top priority is to make sure that that those taking part in our studies are not exposed to any unnecessary risks.

Read more

Stem cell research

We believe that stem cell research may offer new opportunities to develop innovative and safer medicines.

Read more

Our performance

An animal

The number of animals we use depends, among other things, on the amount of pre-clinical research we are doing, the complexity of the diseases under investigation and the regulatory requirements.

Read the latest numbers

Did you know?

  • Animal research helps scientists to bridge the gap between the theories developed in the test tube and the reality of introducing a new treatment to the patient.
  • New medicines are tested on animals because of the biological similarities between animals and humans.
  • The majority of research does not involve animals at all – they are used only when it is necessary and unavoidable.