The doctor's formula is no longer free of cruelty
TO UPDATE (02/19/20): I sent an email with Alice Chen, VP Marketing for Medical Formula and Head of Corporate Communication at Markwins International. Here is her quote:
Physicians Formula products sold in China are domestically manufactured – they are not the same product sold in North America, have no special ingredients, and we are currently working with Leaping Bunny and their certification program. According to Peta, we also remained cruelty-free because our products are domestic-made cosmetics for non-specific purposes. We are committed to not introducing products that require animal testing to withdraw products from a region, rather than allowing animal testing if necessary, and will notify the Chinese authorities of this policy to ensure that they are notified and withdrawal may occur from the market in the unlikely event that animal testing becomes necessary for our product.
So it confirms that Physicians Formula is sold in China. The products for the Chinese market are manufactured domestically in China and do not use any special ingredients. This way they avoid PRE market tests. The only animal testing that could be done is when a consumer complains and has to do post-market testing. They say that in this case they will withdraw from the Chinese market (but I think animal testing would have been done by then).
The animal rights organizations disagree as to whether animals are still involved in post-marketing tests (PETA says that this is not the case, but they could not provide me with evidence). I'm currently playing it safe and avoiding companies that sell in China and are not part of the Leaping Bunny pilot program (Physicians Formula and Wet n Wild are not). I contacted Leaping Bunny and Physicians Formula is currently NOT in discussion with them.
Nevertheless, after talking to my contacts in the community without cruelty, I have the feeling that animal testing after being placed on the market in China will not be a problem in the near future. Leaping Bunny is waiting to learn about the new CSAR regulations from China, which may be delayed due to the outbreak of the corona virus. If the Chinese authorities stop post-marketing and pre-marketing tests, Leaping Bunny can certify more companies that sell in China. As far as I can tell, it is still a very expensive undertaking and only the larger companies will be able to afford it. Until then, I will NOT consider Physicians Formula (or Wet n Wild) to be cruelty-free.
Oh – and side note, Physicians Formula says they haven't blocked my email, but it's still blocked. It could be a coincidence – your guess is as good as mine.
Physicians Formula sold in China
Well, today is a sad day for me. I have to share the bad news that Physicians Formula is no longer cruelty-free. I've been a big supporter of the brand for years, and they're also a supporter of Sharethelooks. Physicians Formula has been a trustworthy brand for so long, and the term "cruelty-free at Physicians Formula" has brought a lot of traffic to my blog over the years. Unfortunately, I learned that they sell in China (like their sister brand Wet n Wild) and can no longer be considered cruelty-free.
I experienced this for the first time last October. I've seen @makeupcrayz share screenshots of the Physicians Formula products sold in China. To be fair, there are some ways in China to avoid animal testing (domestic production, no special-purpose ingredients, and part of the Leaping Bunny pilot program). However, most brands have been unable to do so. And brands that are not part of the Leaping Bunny pilot program could potentially be subjected to random post-marketing tests in the event of a consumer complaint. Also, you can't always trust random screenshots of someone I don't know. For this reason, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I asked what was going on and I was told that they would take care of it. I have checked in repeatedly in the past four months. I have been told that they are preparing an explanation.
I finally told them that I couldn't wait any longer. They told me that they were planning to meet with the Vice President and AVP on Monday, February 17, and would contact me with their statement. I checked in on the morning of February 18th and received no response. I emailed them to let them know I was going to make this announcement, only to find that my email was blocked by their server. I contacted my cruelty-free bloggers and their requests were also ignored by Physicians Formula.
I really hoped they would have an explanation for these photos. I don't want to announce anything like this until I have all the facts. But unfortunately her silence speaks volumes. For this reason, I removed Physicians Formula from my list of cruelty-free beauty brands. For those who don't know, Wet n Wild (its sister brand – also owned by Markwins) was also removed last year for the same reason. Please comment on their social media pages and let them know that we do NOT agree. I hope you will hear our screams and withdraw from China.