‘Cowspiracy’ Co-Director Announces New Film: ‘How To Make Drugs’

The film looks at the “wasteful, dangerous, and often absurd” use of animal testing in pharmaceuticals


3 Minutes Read

The poster for new vegan documentary How To Make DRugs, featuring a monkey holding up bottles of pills Animal testing is widespread - but the reality of it is largely hidden from the public - Media Credit: Supplied

A new documentary on pharmaceutical animal testing in the US is set for release later this year. 

How To Make Drugs (And Feel Great About Everything) follows the life of documentary filmmaker Journey Zephyr. After learning that many antidepressants are tested with a method called the “forced swim test” (where rats are forced to swim to see if they swim longer after being given the drugs), Zephyr sets out to find out more about how animals are used in drug experiments. 

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Keegan Kuhn, the co-producer and co-director of films Cowspiracy, What The Health, and The End Of Medicine, worked with Zephyr on the film. Kuhn told Plant Based News (PBN) that they use “hard-hitting facts” alongside “often sarcastic humor,” creating “an entertaining, informative and ultimately uplifting film about the future of medicine.”

How To Make Drugs features interviews with a number of prominent policy experts, physicians, lobbyists, and activists. Their testimonies “unravel a story of unchecked government spending, entrenched culture, and faulty science costing taxpayers billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives each year,” according to the film’s press release.

Animal testing in pharmaceuticals

A poster for new vegan documentary film "How To Make Drugs," which features a puppy in a lab surrounded by pills
Supplied The film is set for release later this year

Over 100 million animals are used in tests in the US each year. The government spends $20 billion on such tests annually, despite the fact that many experts believe them to be largely ineffective. 

According to Cruelty Free International, 92 percent of drugs that pass animal tests go on to fail in human trials. Many diseases, including some cancers, heart disease, and Parkinson’s, do not affect animals in the same way as humans, and their physiological response to drugs is often very different from ours. 

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There are a growing number of more humane alternatives to animal testing available, including computer models, human tissues, and lab grown cells. The How To Make Drugs film description states that use of animals is “wasteful, dangerous, and often absurd,” and Kuhn is calling for the pharmaceutical industry to invest in alternatives for the sake of both humans and animals. 

“We need governments to no longer fund ineffective and misguided research that uses animals, in favor of human-relevant and reliable testing methods that provide applicable information for human diseases,” they told PBN. “Close to half of Americans are against animal testing, but we need those people to speak up. We need a groundswell of informed citizens to put pressure on governments, universities and private corporations engaged in animal testing, to bring science and medical research into the 21st century. The aim of the film is to inspire that conversation and movement.”

How to watch How To Make Drugs

The film is set for release in the fall of this year. It will be screened in Washington DC in September or October, and the filmmakers are still finalizing the details of a digital release. They are currently crowdfunding to raise money to release the film. You can support the crowdfunder here

Read more: Cowspiracy Is The ‘Most Effective’ Vegan Documentary, Poll Finds

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