The Academy welcomes the Government response to our letter of 29 June 2015 in which we voiced concerns over the potential detrimental impact to research brought about by the new Psychoactive Substances Bill.
The letter was signed by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Pharmacological Society, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal Society, the Society of Biology and the Wellcome Trust.
The Home Office’s response contains clear reassurances that the Government intends to remove anything from the Bill that could constitute an obstacle to bona fide research, ensuring that scientists who use psychoactive substances can continue their work.
Sir John Tooke PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, welcomed the Government’s commitment to strengthening the Bill in order to safeguard research. He said:
“In its original form, we were concerned that the Bill could make it a criminal offence to produce and supply psychoactive substances that are currently being used in important biomedical research.
“I am extremely pleased that the Government has recognised the need to refine the Bill to allow such research to continue without an unnecessary regulatory burden.”
The Bill, which originated in the House of Lords, is due to receive its third reading on Monday 20 July, before progressing to its first reading in the House of Commons later in the year. The Government has committed to introducing an amendment at this stage of the Bill’s progression to ensure that the concerns of the scientific community are satisfied.