Here at VeganMed, we believe that calling a pharmaceutical, supplement or cosmetic product vegan, or stating that it contains vegan ingredients, is inaccurate. This is because the FDA regulatory processes for new drug approval includes animal testing during the research phases. The definition of veganism, taken from The Vegan Society's website, is:
"A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."
Since veganism is a way of living that excludes exploitation of animals for any reason, the terminology animal-free is the most accurate as it simply implies that a product does not contain any animal-derived ingredients. This resonates closely with the dietary definition of veganism above. We also recognize that medications and supplements can often be a health necessity and so we support the concept of "as far as is possible and practicable". While individuals may not be able to change federal laws on animal testing, they might be able to find animal-free options.
“Certified Animal-Free” is a certification program offered by VeganMed, Inc. Currently, “Certified Animal-Free” is intended to certify medications, supplements, and cosmetics as not having any ingredients of animal origin. This certification sets the highest quality standard in the industry as it 1) incorporates lab testing to detect animal-derived ingredients and 2) provides independent verification of the individual ingredients in a product. The certification program addresses the needs of many social and religious cultures such as veganism, vegetarianism, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, and also of those that embrace an animal cruelty-free world.
Verified vs. Certified
In an effort to support our vision of making animal-free products easier to find, we have also listed non-certified products on our marketplace and social media. These products are "verified" as animal-free vs. "certified animal-free." Our pharmacists have reviewed the product for animal-derived ingredients and verified ingredient sourcing with manufacturers, but these products have not completed our rigorous certification process.
There is a Need For Disclosure of Animal Ingredients!
People have a right to know if their medicines contain animal ingredients [Mehta]. There is mounting concern that individual ethical, spiritual and dietary needs should be properly recognized and addressed in respect of all goods and services, including those offered by the pharmaceutical and medical sectors. Many drugs contain animal ingredients and need better labeling [BBC]. In a study of 100 patients, 84% reported not knowing that several medications contained ingredients derived from animal sources. Nearly 63% of the patients wanted their physicians, and 35% of the patients wanted their providers (pharmacists, nurses), to notify them when using such medications [Sattar]. Alternatives exist for many animal-derived ingredients, and healthcare providers are increasingly incorporating awareness around animal-free drugs in their medical practice. [Tatham et al]
Want to learn more? Check out the links below!
Reker, Daniel, et al. "“Inactive” ingredients in oral medications." Science translational medicine 11.483 (2019): eaau6753.
TATHAM, Kate, and Kinesh PATEL. "Why can't all drugs be vegetarian?." BMJ (Overseas and retired doctors ed.) 348.7944 (2014): 18-20.
Rivera, Kara, and Kristen N. Gardner. "Managing requests for gluten-, lactose-, and animal-free medications." Current Psychiatry 16.10 (2017): 47-48.
Sattar, S. Pirzada, et al. "Patient and physician attitudes to using medications with religiously forbidden ingredients." annals of Pharmacotherapy 38.11 (2004): 1830-1835.
Tatham, Kate C., and Kinesh P. Patel. "Suitability of common drugs for patients who avoid animal products." Bmj 348 (2014): g401.
Mehta, Nitin. "People have a right to know if their medicines contain animal ingredients." Acute pain 10 (2019): 00.
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