EMA Announces Huge Overhaul of Operations, Processes

| 19 December 2012 |  By 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is preparing to reorganize its operations, processes and offices in 2013, it has announced.

In a statement released on its website on 19 December 2012, the agency said the overhaul will be "focused on increasing the efficiency of its scientific activities and information- and communication-technology operations."

A particular focus will be placed on how it supports the mission of its scientific committees-the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC), the Committee for Advanced Therapies (CAT) and others-with the aim of better allowing them to reach "high-quality, consistent opinions."

The statement did not make any note of whether the agency currently believed that its scientific committees were of inconsistent quality, and Regulatory Focus has reached out to EMA for clarification and elaboration regarding the changes to be made.

Update: In a statement to Regulatory Focus, EMA Spokesman Martin Harvey said that the changes were geared at making the committees more efficient. "We have a lot of new legislation and changes coming through in the next year," Harvey said. "The new changes are about doing more with less while maintaining the Committee's workload. We are absolutely not saying that the committees are doing a bad job. They were designed a long time ago, and these changes are meant to improve their efficiency."

Still, the effects of the reorganization are expected to be both time- and resource-consuming. EMA's announcement notes that the process will involve "significant effort from scientific and support staff," and that EMA's ability to attend external meetings and forums will be strongly reduced through the first half of 2013.

In a statement, EMA Executive Director Guido Rasi apologized for the interruptions in staff availability, which is typically used to grant outside groups and regulatory professionals closer access to regulators.

"The aim of this exercise is to improve our processes and how best to use our resources, not least to ensure that we are better prepared for future legislative and policy challenges," Rasi said.


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