The European Medicines Agency (EMA) searches for a new home following Brexit

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is searching for a new home. Following Brexit, the EMA will be forced to relocate from London to within the newly drawn border of the EU.​

In accordance with the 4-step procedure approved by the European Council, 19 cities submitted offers for the EMA location by 01 August 2017. The selected location is set to be decided and named in November 2017 following EU Council meetings in October. As part of the procedure the EMA consulted with its staff to assess the impact of moves to each of those countries. Only 30% of staff indicated that they would be prepared to relocate to eight of the cities, putting these locations (unnamed) in the bottom category. In respect of this category, this prompted the Agency to warn of a potential "public health crisis" based on concerns over the Agency’s capability to retain key highly-skilled staff and its ability to continue to function effectively. On a more positive note, the EMA’s employees were more optimistic about five of the bidding cities, with at least 65% of respondents indicating that they would be prepared to move there. While the EMA has not named the cities in its own reports, it has been reported elsewhere that the top 3 of the top 5 are Amsterdam, Barcelona and Vienna, with Milan and Copenhagen in fourth and fifth place.

In parallel, a new study published by Charles River Associates and commissioned by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), has also examined the effect of a move on the EMA’s core functions. The study found that the evaluation of marketing authorisations and the safety monitoring of medicines are likely to be most impacted by the relocation, and urged for transitional arrangements to be put in place to ensure that the agency has the time to manage the relocation and safeguard public health.

For further information, please see our elexica article on the potential locations for the EMA here.

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