Animal testing is a legal requirement in the development of medicines, and it is very strictly regulated. Without animal tests not a single drug would be approved. Various European guidelines, national laws and regulations state that clinical tests cannot be conducted on humans before first being performed on animals. However, Janssen restricts animal testing to a minimum. At our company, animal tests may only be performed if there are no alternatives. Moreover, alternative solutions that are less costly and just as effective are always being investigated.

Ethical assessment

The law imposes strict rules on conducting and documenting animal tests and on the treatment and care of lab animals. Janssen strictly complies with these laws and abides by the highest standards in order to guarantee animal welfare. Every scientific study involving animals is presented to an ethics committee.  With every research project, the commission verifies whether appropriate checks have been made, whether alternative testing models are available and whether the research is being conducted with the utmost respect for the wellbeing of the animal and in accordance with legal and ethical standards.

Janssen established an Ethical Commission for Animal Testing (ECAT) even before the law imposed this. 

 Alternative solutions that are less costly and just as effective are always being investigated.


New obligations

Other new obligations laid down in the legislation include greater focus on continual training for people working with laboratory animals and the establishment of an Animal Welfare Cell. This cell must ensure that all operations with laboratory animals are carried out properly and that the welfare of the animals is promoted by behavioral enrichment, group housing and regular attention paid to the animals.


The Four Rs

In order to reduce as much as possible the number of animal testing, Janssen uses the principle of the 4 Rs, Replacement, Reduction, Refinement and Responsibility: 


means that, whenever possible, studies are conducted without animals. This can be done, for example, by using cell cultures, physio-chemical methods, molecular biology or mathematical models.


refers to the well-being of the animals. Employees always have to think of ways to reduce the nuisance for the animal to the greatest possible extent. Besides researchers, animal caregivers and vets who are concerned about the well-being of the animals are also part of the team. This aspect is also followed up and reported to the European Commission.


means that Janssen is making a conscious effort to reduce the number of lab animals whenever possible. However, this should never be less than the minimum number required to obtain reliable results. 


means that the company and its employees must always treat the animals with respect.

Janssen awards prizes to employees for their original suggestions and applications related to these 4 Rs.


Dat Janssen op een transparante manier handelt, bewijst de driejaarlijkse externe audit die het bedrijf laat uitvoeren. Die controle is niet verplicht, maar Janssen legt die zichzelf op. De audit is zeer streng. Bij de laatste controle, in december 2011, bezochten vier experts gedurende drie dagen alle locaties en afdelingen met dieren. Janssen kreeg de raad om bepaalde werkpraktijken nog meer te harmoniseren. Dat gebeurt sinds 2012 binnen vier werkgroepen: Diertechnische Handelingen, Experimentele Chirurgie, het Janssen Environmental Enrichment Committee en het Dierenartsenteam.

The number of tests carried out with animals varies from year to year, depending on the ongoing studies during this period and the number of laboratory animals required per study. It is therefore impossible to put an actual figure on this. In any case, all animal tests are carried out in compliance will all the rules, irrespective of the number and type of laboratory animals used.


"For now, only animal testing can imitate a human organism in all its complexity. Hopefully, one day, animal testing will no longer be required," says the Janssen management. "But as long as that is not the case, animal tests remain a necessity in scientific research on medicines for humans and animals."



Janssen believes that strong corporate results, correct policies and focused activities pave the way towards economic sustainability. 

Janssen must constantly reinvent itself in order to cope with the structural and economic changes that affect its environment. This is why Janssen is committed to build partnerships within an open innovation model, and to the continuous alignment of its cost-competitiveness by only developing medicines with a high therapeutic added value. 

For Janssen this means specifically: being focused and a leader in research & development, and being efficient and progressive in terms of production with the aim of bringing new therapeutic solutions to patients quicker and at less expense, and implementing a growth strategy to ensure our continued investment in all these areas.