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UK commentators point to job losses and disruption to patients following news that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be relocated to Amsterdam.
European pharma industry associations broadly welcomed yesterday’s announcement that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be relocated to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, but sounded an inevitable note of caution. EFPIA Director General, Nathalie Moll emphasized that “[s]ecuring transitional arrangements and long-term cooperation on medicines regulation between the UK and EU is the best way of ensuring that patients across Europe continue to have access to safe and effective medicines”, while John Brennan, Secretary General of EuropaBio, commented: “Now that we have more clarity, it is vital that the relocation of the EMA will be carried out in such a way as to minimize as much as possible any disruptions that could negatively affect access to medicines for patients”. Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) congratulated Amsterdam -“hosting the EMA is a singular honor for any city and we will do all we can to support the agency's smooth transition to its new home”-while urging “both the UK and the EU to put patients first and acknowledge that securing a comprehensive agreement to cooperate on medicines safety, regulation and supply is an urgent negotiating priority." Other reactions from the UK were more unequivocal. The BioIndustry Industry Association’s Steve Bates noted that “London’s loss is Amsterdam’s gain. Today’s decision on the location of EMA means 1000 high quality jobs leaving the UK, disrupting 1000 families as a direct result of Brexit, with implications for thousands more. Businesses now need certainty”. The UK writer, broadcaster, and campaigner Ben Goldacre warned that moving EMA “will cause upheaval and delays. He added: “The EMA already has a problem with revolving doors to industry, as seen even with their previous Director. This is what will foreseeably happen, after the move: good staff will leave EMA in preference to leaving their homes, their schools, and their partners careers in London. They will become poachers rather than gamekeepers, and this will be to the great detriment of patients”.