Posted 06 July 2016
By Zachary Brennan
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Wednesday said the agency will not be the one deciding where to move its London headquarters as it will be decided by common agreement among member state representatives.
Despite the statement, what’s still unknown is when and where the agency and its 890 employees will move from its current locale in London’s Canary Wharf financial district. A number of member states have been lobbying for the new headquarters, among them Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Germany.
And as Reuters reported earlier this week, some pharmaceutical companies are beginning to express concern over the drug approval delays that are likely to be inevitable when the headquarters makes its move.
“EMA welcomes the interest expressed by some Member States to host the Agency in future. The decision on the seat of the Agency will however not be taken by EMA, but will be decided by common agreement among the representatives of the Member States. We are confident that the Member States will take the most appropriate decision on EMA's location and arrangements in due course, taking also into account the complex political and legal environment generated by the outcome of the UK referendum,” the agency said in a statement.
EMA also reiterated what spokeswoman Rebecca Harding previously explained to Focus: “We respect the UK citizens’ decision to no longer be a part of the European Union. The people in the UK have taken their vote and it is now up to the UK government to decide how to act upon the outcome of the referendum.
“Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU foresees the procedure to be followed in case a Member State notifies the European Council of its decision to withdraw from the Union. No country has ever decided to leave the EU, so there is no precedent for this situation. It is too early to foresee the implications of this decision and we will be in close contact with the EU institutions. When we have concrete information, we will share it with our stakeholders,” she said. “EMA will continue with its work with the goal to protect human and animal health and ensure access to medicines that are safe, effective and of good quality.”
As soon as concrete information becomes available, EMA says it will share it with its stakeholders.
Emer Cooke, head of international affairs at the EMA, said last week that the referendum vote “is a decision that affects a lot of the staff of the agency, personally and professionally.” She also expressed general shock over the vote, noting, “You sort of don’t believe it,” though she also stressed it is “too early to say what’s going to happen,” and “we will continue with business as usual – no immediate changes apart from the emotional shock.”