Allergan Inc., based in Irvine, is a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company whose flagship product is Botox, developed as an anti-spasm drug but now primarily used in the cosmetic treatment of facial wrinkles.
The company also makes eye and contact lens moisturizing drops and other eye-care products including medications for cataracts, glaucoma and pink eye. It also makes treatments for acne and psoriasis.
Since Botox is toxic (it is derived from the botulism toxin), under US and EU law it must be tested for toxicity. These tests have historically been done on animals and involve giving a group of animals doses of the medication and measuring how long it takes half of them to die. This is called the LD50 test.
In 2007, the Humane Society and the Calvert Group began a campaign to pressure Allergan to eliminate animal testing, but introducing an anti-testing shareholder resolution for the company’s 2008 annual meeting. It received 5.7% of the vote.
Reintroduced for the 2009 meeting, it received 8.4% of the vote and was eligible to be reintroduced in 2010.
In February of this year, the Humane Society and Calvert Asset Management withdrew the resolution after the company posted a statement on its website saying it had been working with regulators on alternative testing, had reduced its use of animals by 78 percent, and was seeking further reductions.