EMA post-Brexit update: Completion day set, building approval on track

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

Dutch authorities say the EMA’s permanent headquarters will be completed by November 15, 2019 – more than seven months after the agency’s relocation deadline.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced the completion date last week from Lisbon, Portugal, where its management board met to discuss the building approval process.

At the ‘exceptional’ meeting, the board approved notification to the EU’s Budgetary Authority of the agency’s intention to move into the new structure – “a key step” ​in the building approval process.

Amsterdam won the bid​ to host the currently London-based agency in November last year, proposing a building with complete conference facilities to be completed by the ‘Brexit​’ deadline of March 30, 2019.

In order to accommodate the transition, the city also proposed options for temporary offices, to ensure the continuity of operations until the headquarters were completed.

Earlier this year​, the agency revealed the temporary site in west Amsterdam’s Sloterdijk district that will house the EMA from February 2019.

At the time, executive director Guido Rasi said the temporary site – which is half the size of the current London headquarters – is not ideal, but “the best option.” ​ 

The EMA is working with UK authorities to ensure shortages of medicines will not occur as a result of the relocation, he added.

Regulatory relationships

On Friday​, UK Prime Minister Theresa May told delegates at Mansion House she wants to “explore with the EU, the terms on which the UK could remain part of EU agencies”​ – such as the EMA.

“Membership of the European Medicines Agency would mean investment in new innovative medicines continuing in the UK, and it would mean these medicines getting to patients faster as firms prioritize larger markets when they start the lengthy process of seeking authorizations,” ​said May.

“But it would also be good for the EU because the UK regulator assesses more new medicines than any other member state,” ​she added.

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