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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

European Medicines Agency to move from London to Amsterdam

After a final round dead-heat vote by member states on Monday 20th November, following the drawing of lots, Amsterdam has been confirmed as the new home for the European Medicines Agency. On current plans, the EMA will be operating in Amsterdam from April 2019.

The EMA's Patients and Consumers Working Party annual meeting
Meantime the EMA's Patients and Consumers Working Party (PCWP) is holding its annual meeting with all EMA eligible patient/consumer consumer organisations to consider relocation preparedness, patient and consumer involvement in EMA activities, highlights from major EMA committees and updates on pharmacovigilance, information on medicines and future work programmes in 2018 and 2019 for the PCWP and the EMA's Healthcare Professionals Working Party.

The European Medicines Agency is concerned with regulation of medicines and other advanced therapies for humans and animals for 28 countries across the European Union.

The EMA has established mechanisms for involving patients in regulatory assessment: patients’ value perception and value systems. The EMA also has an increasing remit to engage with stakeholder organisations and to improve transparency in its activities for the ~510 million citizens of the European Union. Furthermore the EMA has a major role in educating patients, carers and health care professionals about medicines.  

There remain many decisions and actions for the coming months needed to ensure the smooth relocation of the EMA to Amsterdam and either to develop systems to retain UK expertise for the EMA or replace that expertise. For the EMA, these include:
  • maximising staff retention
  • maintaining capacity to continue the work of the EMA 
  • continuing productive engagement with stakeholder groups: patients, carers, healthcare professionals ...
  • maintaining the capacity of the EMA to engage with the public
For the UK, there are pressing questions regarding the future regulation of medicines in the UK post-Brexit, the impact of loss of international influence of UK regulators and other experts on medicines and the impact of loss of biotech and pharmaceutical companies from London to Amsterdam.

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