Denmark bids to host EMA and says DKMA can provide MHRA-like scientific support

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

iStock/Birute Vijeikiene
iStock/Birute Vijeikiene

Related tags European medicines agency European union United kingdom

Denmark has bid to be the new home of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after the UK leaves the European Union.

The Danish Government announced its bid to replace London as European Medicines Agency (EMA) host city today, arguing that its academic and industrial sectors and “leading position in health data and patient safety​” make it an ideal location.

Thomas Senderovitz, Director General of the Danish Medicines Agency (DKMA), said his agency is well placed to provide the EMA with scientific support, taking on a role currently played by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

He said: “There is no doubt that Brexit will have a major impact on the cooperation on medicinal products throughout Europe, especially because the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is currently contributing significantly to the scientific work at EMA.

Consequently, we are bringing more staff into our organisation, and we are willing to take more than a fair share of future assessments. We are also making efforts to strengthen our capacity within scientific advice and biostatistics​.”

At present, the Copenhagen-based agency employs 400 people.

Rival bids

Denmark is the fourth country to announced its desire to play host to the EMA in the event that the UK does leave the European Union. 

Last month​ the Netherlands' officially announced its bid just a few months after Ireland​ and Sweden​ each said they wanted to host the agency. 

Spain​, Germany​ and Italy​ are also said to be interested.


Although it looks likely to happen, the UK Government has not yet triggered its withdrawal from the European Union.

In May, ahead of the referendum, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) voiced concerns about the impact Brexit and the EMA leaving London would have on its members, citing the loss of MHRA influence as a major worry.

The industry group told us “The standing of the UK’s Medicines Healthcare Products Research Agency (MHRA) in the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is just one example of how Britain takes a leadership role across Europe.

If the EMA leaves London – and it would have to in the event of the UK voting to leave the EU – you risk adding extra barriers to licensing new medicines. We believe this would be bad news for our patients who are already accessing new medicines at a slower pace than many other countries across the EU​.”

EMA response

The EMA told us: "The future location of the Agency will not be determined by EMA but by a common agreement of the EU Member States. A number of Member States, including Denmark, have indeed expressed an interest to host EMA. We welcome this interest and EMA is confident that the Member States will take the most appropriate decision on the Agency's location​."

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