We’re delighted that the acclaimed actor and Downton Abbey star Peter Egan has published an important post on penicillin, the life-saving medicine highlighted in Parliamentary EDM 373, arguably the most important example of a cure derailed by animal models. To read Peter Egan’s post please visit this link.
Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin and understood the harm caused to human patients by animal testing:
‘How fortunate we didn’t have these animal tests in the 1940’s, for penicillin would probably never been granted a license, and possibly the whole field of antibiotics might never have been realized’. 
Howard Florey also played a crucial role in bringing about the use of penicillin for humans; here is Florey on animal models:
‘Mice were used in the initial toxicity tests because of their small size, but what a lucky chance it was, for in this respect man is like the mouse and not the guinea-pig. If we had used guinea-pigs exclusively we should have said that penicillin was toxic, and we probably should not have proceeded to try and overcome the difficulties of producing the substance for trial in man.  (Emphasis added).
To read a brief history on the discovery of penicillin and the shocking role animal models played in delaying this life-saving medicine for humans, please visit this link.
1. Parke DV: Clinical Pharmacokinetics in Drug Safety Evaluation. ATLA 1994, 22:207-209.
2. Florey H: The advance of chemotherapy by animal experiment. Conquest 1953, 41:12.