EMA Relocation to Amsterdam

by Jelena Malinina
What comes next?

Were you following the EMA relocation vote last night with as much anticipation as us? After the excitement, we are focusing on 'what next' for the EMA – we are glad to share some insight from our Policy Analyst Jelena Malinina

After months of intense battle for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) between 19 EU Members, Amsterdam has been announced as the new home of the EMA. While some countries are experiencing the bitterness of losing out when the victory was so close, and others are debating the eligibility of drawing lots as a method of decision making, it is time to put the emotions aside and see what is coming next.

EMA is likely to continue its work without major disturbances

EMA staff can breathe freely: Amsterdam was one of the most favoured locations by many of EMA staff, which means that the staff retention is expected to be relatively high. The EMA is likely to keep at least 80% of its workforce, which is of key importance not only to ensure the Agency’s operability but also to avoid a major deficit in EMA’s budget: if operations are delayed, the Agency could experience a dramatic drop in fee income, which would need to be compensated from the Union’s budget.

When EMA will actually move

EMA moving out deadlines are quite tight: the relocation should happen before April 2019, and it will happen in several stages:

  1. EMA needs to make a formal arrangement with the Dutch Government between now and March 2018;
  2. The main building preparations for the move are scheduled between April 2018 and April 2019, the new EMA home is going to be Vivaldi Towers, located in the South of the city.
  3. As from January 2019 and onwards, EMA staff will be able to move from London to the temporary facility until Vivaldi Towers are fully operational in spring/summer 2019.

Amsterdam’s promises to EMA

As part of the bid for EMA, the Government of the Netherlands has promised to invest in enhancing the EU medicines regulatory system in two key ways:

  • Short term: by strengthening the regulatory capacity of the Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board
  • Long term: €2 million has been allocated to ensure that a greater share of the European regulatory procedures can be covered by the Dutch Agency

In addition, Dutch government foresees an in-depth training programme for developing expertise and assessment capacity in those EU Member States that are keen to expand their role in taking up assessment procedures. Specific needs in therapeutic areas, pharmacovigilance, and regulatory science will be addressed through collaboration with Dutch universities and university medical centres. Furthermore, the Netherlands is also home to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmaceutical Policy and Regulation, which is situated at Utrecht University.

What EMA will bring to Amsterdam

The agency will come to Amsterdam with almost 900 expert workers, comprehensive research networks and a €300 million a year budget. Amsterdam is also likely to attract pharmaceutical companies, researchers, associated activities and investments. A prize for a great effort done by Amsterdam while bidding for EMA.

Congratulations, the Netherlands, on a well-deserved victory! 

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