Two months out from when the UK will officially exit the EU, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Wednesday provided an update on its move to the Netherlands and clarified its priorities in the new year.
With the anticipated loss of 25% of its staff
, EMA says it must continue to prioritize its activities according to its business continuity plan (BCP)
through at least the first half of 2019.
"The focus will be on the authorization, maintenance and supervision of medicines, ongoing Brexit preparedness/implementation activities and preparing for the implementation of the new veterinary legislation," EMA says.
EMA has also listed what it considers its highest priority activities
for 2019, which include efforts to ensure timely access to new medicines; combat antimicrobial resistance; reinforce its network of scientific and regulatory experts; and continue support for international harmonization and mutual-reliance initiatives.
"Focusing on these activities as part of BCP phase 4 should allow the agency to cope with the anticipated loss of 25% of its total workforce and ensure the continued delivery of EMA's services at high quality during peak relocation time," EMA says.
The agency also says it plans to conduct a review in April to determine what additional activities it can take on in the second half of the year.
As for the move to the Netherlands, EMA says it’s currently preparing to move to its temporary premises at the Spark building in Amsterdam Sloterdijk and will be out of its London office on 1 March 2019.
During the week of 4-8 March, EMA says that most of its staff will be teleworking while a "small number of staff will be present in the new building to deal with any emergencies should the need arise."
The following week EMA will move the remainder of its staff into the Spark building.
As of 4 March 2019, EMA says its official address will change to that of its permanent offices in Amsterdam Zuidas:
European Medicines Agency,
Modenico Scarlattilaan 6, 1083 HS
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
However, for the time being, EMA says that meetings and visits to the agency will take place at the Spark building. The agency also notes that its scientific committees will continue to follow their existing meeting schedules "without any changes."
For meetings with industry, EMA says it will set up a "chaperoning system" to compensate for the "rather small" industry lounge at the Spark building, though the agency says it will have enough meeting rooms to accommodate all its meetings.