IPEC e-newsletter - Excipients Insight October 2017 - 16-10-17


Inside this issue


With staff retention an issue, EMA reveals favoured host cities

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) says it could lose the bulk of its staff if the move from its current home in the UK isn’t handled well, and it has been reported that Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Milan and Vienna are the favoured locations.

Ahead of an assessment of the bids by 19 cities who are in the running to locate the agency later this month, the EMA surveyed its staff to see how they are feeling about the prospects of a move, and the results make alarming reading.

For certain locations staff retention rates could be significantly less than 30%, it says, which would render the EMA unable to function and would have “important consequences for public health in the EU.”

Even the best-case scenario emerging from the survey puts the EU regulator as losing 19% of its workforce, and two-thirds of workers are adamant that the new EMA location will be a determining factor in their decision-making to relocate or not.

The results “emphasize the importance of the upcoming decision on the EMA’s future seat as the retention of skilled and experienced staff is crucial for the agency’s continuity of operations,” said the EMA in a statement.

The time the EMA thinks it could take to regain full operational capacity is also alarming.  Assuming one of the five [preferred cities are selected – which could see on average around of quarter of staff being lost – it will take two to three years to get back up to speed.

The middle range sees recovery in the three to 10-year time frame, while the bottom eight city locations would result in “permanent damage to the system” and a need for emergency legislative measures at EU and national level to keep the regulatory regime operational.

If a favoured location is chosen the disruption would amount to some delays in approving new medicines, and slower progress on public health initiatives. At the other extreme, says the EMA, is a “public health crisis” and an “unravelling of the single market for medicines [with] no centralised authorisations.” That would lead to patient deaths and the likelihood of litigation, it asserts.

The applications are being assessed on the basis of six criteria, with the European Commission’s decision – which has already been delayed - due in November. Some observers see the timing of the survey as an attempt to pre-empt any politically-motivated decision to shift the EMA to one of the newer EU nations that do not host any of the EU’s agencies.

The full list of cities and countries offered to host the EMA

Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Athens (Greece)

Barcelona (Spain)

Bonn (Germany)

Bratislava (Slovakia)

Brussels (Belgium)

Bucharest (Romania)

Copenhagen (Denmark)

Dublin (Ireland)

Helsinki (Finland)

Lille (France)

Milan (Italy)

Porto (Portugal)

Sofia (Bulgaria)

Stockholm (Sweden)

Malta (Malta)

Vienna (Austria)

Warsaw (Poland)

Zagreb (Croatia)




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