Amsterdam Selected as New HQ for European Medicines Agency Post Brexit

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), currently headquartered in London, will relocate to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Amsterdam was one of 19 cities in the European Union (EU) that bid to host the EMA following the UK’s decision to exit the EU. The decision on the EMA’s new location follows an assessment of the bids by the European Commission and the EMA and a subsequent vote by the ministers of the 27 EU member states.

The agency now has 16 months to prepare for the move and take up its operations in Amsterdam by March 30, 2019 at the latest. The EMA has been based in London since it was established in 1995. It currently employs nearly 900 staff members at its headquarters in Canary Wharf, London.

EMA Executive Director Guido Rasi commented on the new location. “Amsterdam ticks many of our boxes,” Rasi said in an agency statement. “It offers excellent connectivity and a building that can be shaped according to our needs. I am very grateful that the Member States took into account our requirements for business continuity and gave priority to the protection of public and animal health,” he said. “Our internal surveys have shown that a large majority of EMA staff would be willing to move with the Agency to Amsterdam. However even in this case, our activities will be impacted, and we need to plan for this now to avoid the creation of gaps in knowledge and expertise.”

Industry trade groups commented on the relocation decision. “Now the decision has been made, all authorities and stakeholders need to collaborate to support the agency in making the move to Amsterdam,” said Stefan Oschmann, president of European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), an industry trade association that represents pharmaceutical companies and national pharmaceutical trade associations in Europe, in an association statement. “It is vital to ensure the continuity of the EMA’s critical functions, its ability to retain staff and access expert networks. EFPIA and its members are committed to supporting this process.”

Mike Thompson, chief executive of Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, an industry trade representing pharmaceutical manufacturers in the UK, further commented to emphasize the need for consideration of pharmaceutical-related issues between the EU and UK. “We now urge both the UK and the EU to put patients first and acknowledge that securing a comprehensive agreement to cooperate on medicines safety, regulation, and supply is an urgent negotiating priority,” Thompson said.

The EMA and the Netherlands will start their collaboration by establishing a joint governance structure to steer and oversee the relocation project. In early December 2017, the agency will make available a monitoring chart on its website to track the progress made.

Source: European Medicines Agency, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, European Council, and Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry


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