Chuck the ChapStick: Ditch the Lip Balm Until Pfizer Bans Cruel Test

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It's time to kiss ChapStick goodbye.

Pharmaceutical kingpin Pfizer—maker of ChapStick lip balm—has refused to ban a cruel and useless animal experiment that some of its competitors have ceased conducting.

spoof logo and forced swim test
© FST.jpg | TaoPan | CC BY-SA 3.0

Following discussions with PETA, Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie Inc., Roche, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk A/S and Boehringer Ingelheim have said that they'll no longer use the "so-called forced swim test" in their efforts to develop new drugs.

three mice in forced swim test

In a November letter to Pfizer's CEO and board chair, PETA asked that the company join the ranks of the enlightened—but heard only excuses in return.

In the test, a mouse or rat is given a test compound and is then dropped into a beaker partially filled with water. The animal has no chance of escaping. Panicked, they furiously try to escape by climbing up the sides of the container or diving underwater in an attempt to find a way out. Eventually, the animal begins to float.

mouse placed in beaker of water

Experimenters affiliated with Pfizer have called the test a measure of an animal's "depression-like behavior," but that theory has been debunked. "[T]here is no single sign or symptom of depression modeled" in the test, researchers concluded in a 2015 review.

At least 1,270 mice and rats have suffered needlessly in Pfizer's experiments. And in the 18 years that publications show the company has used the test, it hasn't led to any marketable drugs to treat human depression.

Not a single one.

Pfizer still refuses to commit to banning the test. Chuck your ChapStick until Pfizer stops torturing animals. Instead, use one of the more than a dozen lip balms on PETA's list of cruelty-free products.

While you're at it, take action below to let Pfizer know why you're no longer using ChapStick.

Putting your subject line and letter into your own words will help draw attention to your e-mail.

Text PETA to 73822 to sign up as a mobile First Responder! Then, you can take action for animals by texting a single word or even letter—anywhere, anytime.
Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D.
Pfizer, Inc.Worldwide Research and Development
Bourla, DVM, Ph.D.
Pfizer, Inc.

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