Pharma Execs, EFPIA Call for Move of EMA HQ Post Brexit
The heads of research of a number of major pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi, Novartis, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), which represents 33 European national pharmaceutical industry associations as well as 41 innovator drug companies, are calling on the European Council to decide on the new headquarters for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) soon, preferably at the Council’s meeting in June 2017, in the wake of the UK’s pending separation from the European Union (Brexit), which the UK government formally announced in March 2017 and which will take two years to complete.
In an open letter to the Council, the pharma companies and the EFPIA stated that the Council’s deliberations on the future location of the EMA, currently headquartered in London, said that the new location must have the capacity to accommodate and manage the 36,000 expert visits that the EMA facilitates on an annual basis as well as a number of regulatory exchanges with the global pharmaceutical industry. They also emphasized: the importance of access to transportation (international, regional, and local); a building geared towards allowing the EMA to host the large number of essential expert meetings it organizes every year; and a location that is capable of furnishing a large number of hotel rooms to allows hosting the range of experts who engage with the EMA to provide input into regulatory processes.
Other criteria that the group noted in the letter include: a focus on retaining competent staff; sufficient and decent housing with access to international/European schools for staff with children; and employment opportunities for spouses/partners.
“Were a rapid resolution on the future location of the EMA not to materialize, or if the future seat of the European Medicines Agency were to fail in terms of establishing its minimum prerequisites, the quality of its work and the future of the European Medicines Regulatory Network would be placed in jeopardy. The extent of the severe and significant negative repercussions for public and animal health in Europe would be indeterminable,” the group stated in the letter.
At the same time that the pharma industry and EFPIA issued their letter to the Council, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) outlined its goals for moving forward post-Brexit, including developing an international and enhanced national strategy for collaboration and engagement with key partners and stakeholders.