China’s Move to Cruelty Free: New Draft Regulation Changes Requirements for Cosmetics Filing
The National Medical Products Administration (“NMPA”) has newly released Measures for the Administration of Filing for Non-Special Use Cosmetics (Draft for Comments) (“Measures”) on 23rd of May 2019 which expressly provides that non-special use cosmetics (such as shampoo, perfume, cleanser, etc.) are exempt from toxicology tests if relevant safety requirements can be met. The Measures do not apply to special use cosmetics such as sunscreen or hair dye products. Despite this the Measures are extremely important and sends a strong and clear signal to the cosmetics industry that the Chinese authorities are taking steps towards a cruelty free approach. In addition to representing ground-breaking progress in respect of animal testing, the Measures also set out a series of other major changes to and improvements in respect of the filing procedures for non-special use cosmetics. This is the first time the Chinese authorities have explicitly on the record opened the door to excluding animal testing for imported cosmetics products across the country. This also further evidence a trend in that the Chinese authorities are s experiencing a strategic shift in regulatory thinking, moving from strict pre-entry control to a more balanced combination of pre-market regulation and active and on-going post-market supervision. For international cosmetic companies, this may make the Chinese market more attractive for cruelty free brands. However, issues will still exist but the direction at least should be applauded.