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Decline of Chimp Research

Pharmaceutical company Merck says that it will stop using chimpanzees in its biomedical research efforts, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company says newer technologies and alternate approaches can replace the use of chimpanzees in drug research.

"The science has advanced, and we don't really need it," Caroline Lappetito, a spokesperson for Merck, tells the Associated Press.

The company's announcement comes after the US federal government's decision to also end much of its chimpanzee-based research. In 2011, a report from the Institute of Medicine found that some medical experiments inflict both physical and mental harm on chimps and that most could be replaced by newer technologies. In June 2013, the National Institutes of Health announced that it would retire nearly all of its research chimps; a few would remain in use for certain qualified projects, such as studies of behavior, genomics, and immunology.

The Journal notes that other companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Colgate-Palmolive have also ended their chimp-based work.