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Paraveganio is the first medicinal product to carry The Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark. The axunio-produced drug contains 500mg of paracetamol and can be used like the regular painkiller. It negates magnesium stearate, which is frequently of animal origin and found in most over-the-counter paracetamol products.
Up to 75 percent of medicines contain animal-sourced products. The Vegan Society claims to have been calling for this to change, for years. Its ‘Make More Medicines Vegan’ campaign, launched in 2017, directly petitioned the U.K. government to start using more animal-free prescription drugs. It called for better information for vegan patients, as to the alternatives available to them, alongside.
Same performance standards
Paraveganio appears to be as effective as non-vegan certified paracetamol in treating mild fevers and moderate pain. In place of animal-derived magnesium stearate is a purely plant-sourced alternative.
“We couldn’t be prouder to be bringing the world’s first vegan-certified drug to the market,” Julia von Horsten, product and business development manager for axunio, said in a statement. “Of course, to have it certified by The Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark – the gold standard in vegan labelling – makes it that much more special too. Many people are surprised to hear that the majority of medications, including over-the-counter products such as paracetamol, contain animal derivatives or have been tested on animals. We know there’s a gap in the market for a vegan-certified paracetamol and are so delighted to be able to offer our product to consumers.”
At present, Paraveganio is only available in Germany, though axunio has revealed plans to expand into international markets.
The certification of its first vegan medicine represents a landmark moment for the Vegan Trademark. Already found on a wide variety of products, including food, beverages and beauty items, it has now branched into a highly lucrative and wide-reaching sector. Pharmaceuticals have long been a cause for concern for vegans, thanks to the prolific animal testing that has dogged the sector for decades. Until now, there have been few options for critically ill people who steer clear of all animal products.
“We’re delighted to see our Vegan Trademark for the first time on a vegan medicinal product,” Ericka Durgahee, marketing manager for The Vegan Society, said in a press statement. “We know that many vegans struggle to find medication that is both suitable to their needs and in-line [sic] with their beliefs, which can be distressing. However, axunio have shown just how easy it is to create a brilliant vegan-friendly product and we can only hope that other pharmaceutical companies follow suit and work to create more vegan medications.”
Making medicines animal-free
Paraveganio might be the first medicine to carry the Vegan Trademark, but progress has been happening elsewhere. In December last year, it was revealed that Roquette, based in Illinois, has launched a vegan softgel development. Its Lycagel Premix can be used to deliver liquid medication with the same stability and performance as regular gelatin-based capsules. The development means that medications can be considered fully vegan, halal and kosher. The mix can be substituted for regular gelatin bases without any manufacturing equipment adaptation, making it a cost-effective and ethically aware switch.
North Carolina’s Jellatech is hoping to bring animal-free gelatin to the pharmaceutical sector, following a successful $2 million pre-seed funding round last year. Products are yet to be confirmed.
Lead photo by axunio.