Changes in the law to protect people involved in medicines research from animal extremists, announced in the Queen's Speech today, have been warmly welcomed by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).
Three major changes have been announced, including one that will make it an offence to protest outside homes where a person's presence is likely to harass, alarm or distress the resident.
"The measures announced by the Government are vital if we wish to see the continued development of new medicines in Britain," said Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI. "The campaign of harassment, intimidation and violence that the lunatic fringes of the animal rights lobby have inflicted on those working on medicines research has included hundreds of instances of people being targeted in their own homes.
"Already, some companies are talking of moving their work to other countries, which would be a disaster for Britain. We sincerely hope these new measures will curb the illicit activities of the violent few."
In the first nine months of this year alone, there were almost 150 demonstrations outside the homes of private individuals, as well as 142 instances of damage to company, personal or public property.
"This level of intimidation against people involved in life-saving work has to be curbed. While the police have been more active against these extremists in the past few months, it is clear that the law needed to be strengthened.
"These measures are thus very welcome, and we shall be monitoring their effect once they come into force to see how well they work on the ground," said Dr Barker.
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410