Posted 01 October 2015
By Zachary Brennan
The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA’s) Management Board on Thursday nominated Professor Guido Rasi as the executive director of the agency, a little less than a year after he was forced to step down from the position.
Rasi has been invited to give a statement to the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) on 13 October 2015, and the appointment of the new executive director will be made after this session. The EMA told RAPS on Thursday that the short list of candidates for the position is confidential.
The nomination might be a surprise for some as back in November 2014, Rasi was forced to step down by the EU Civil Service Tribunal after adjudicators found that the European Commission had improperly selected him in 2011.
The case against Rasi was filed by Emil Hristov, formerly with the Bulgarian Drug Agency and a member of EMA's board, who maintained that EMA and the European Commission had improperly assembled a short list of candidates for the position of EMA's executive director after the controversial departure of former leader Thomas Lönngren in 2010.
Hristov had applied for the position, but was ranked last among eight candidates and was not selected to be on a "short list" of candidates presented to EMA's Board of Directors. The assembly of that "short list" of candidates by a selection committee was improper, the EU Civil Service Tribunal found, and the EMA board should have considered the candidacy of Hristov.
The EMA later appealed the court’s decision, saying the ruling was not proportional or balanced.
Deputy Executive Director Andreas Pott will continue to lead EMA operations and to legally represent EMA until the new executive director has officially taken up his duties.
The chair of the Management Board, Professor Sir Kent Woods, who previously called the court ruling to remove Rasi regrettable, said Thursday: “The decision of the Management Board is the result of a robust recruitment process over the last months. We look forward to Professor Rasi resuming his leadership of the Agency.”
Rasi added, “Looking to the future, we must continue to meet patients’ legitimate expectations for access to new and safe therapeutic options. This requires that the medicines authorization process not only supports the early stages of research and development, but also strives to make the best possible use of real world data throughout a medicine’s lifecycle.”
EMA Press Release