Drugs agency relocating to Amsterdam

Amy Schofield 23 November 2017

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is to relocate from London to Amsterdam after Brexit. 

The EMA is joining the European Banking Agency in relocating away from London's Canary Wharf. 

The European Union's (EU) General Affairs Council voted for Amsterdam to become the new home for the EMA. It beat competition from countries including Athens, Barcelona, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Porto, Sofia, Stockholm, Malta, Warsaw and Zagreb to become the EMA's new host.

Each bid was assessed on factors of accessibility; schools for the children of staff members; healthcare and access to work for workers' spouses; business continuity; geographical spread; and the assurance that the agency can be operational in its new home when the UK leaves the EU.

Commenting on the Council's decision, ABPI Chief Executive Mike Thompson said: "Congratulations to Amsterdam, The Netherlands on their successful bid. Hosting the EMA is a singular honour for any city and we will do all we can to support the agency's smooth transition to its new home.

"Today's decision marks the moment when attention should switch to how patient safety and effective public health can be maintained during this complex transition and into the future."

He added: "We now urge 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."

The decision was met with concerns over the number of highly skilled jobs that will now move out of the UK and possible future disinvestment in the UK of pharmaceutical industry jobs.

John Hardy, Professor of Neuroscience at University College London, said: “This is just another unforeseen – by the politicians – consequence of Brexit. Of itself, it is bad enough news – many highly skilled jobs moving out of the country. But a greater impact will be the tug this exerts on the pharmaceutical companies as they weigh up where to make their clinical research investments."


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