GlaxoSmithKline won an injunction last night against animal rights extremists to prevent them acting on threats to publish shareholders' personal details on the internet and to stop them further contacting or harassing its private shareholders.
An animal rights extremist group had already written to shareholders of the pharmaceutical giant, demanding they sell any shares they hold in the company within two weeks. The Financial Times reports that the letters came from the Campaign Against Huntington Life Sciences.
Glaxo approached the police and wrote to its shareholders to reassure them.
Glaxo's letter also urged shareholders to keep the extremists' letter, together with its original envelope, in a safe place for collection by the police. "Minimise any handling of the letter and envelope and be careful not to overwrite or cause indentations," it wrote.
It also offered shareholders wishing to protect their privacy the opportunity of transferring their shares, free of charge, into a nominee account.
It added: "For ethical, regulatory and scientific reasons, research using animals remains a small but vital part of the research and development of new medicines and vaccines. Animals are only used where no alternative is available and our scientists constantly strive to reduce the numbers used. We aim to exceed industry standards in the care and welfare of the animals it uses."