22 March 2019 - Deborah Wilkes
The Management Board of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has re-elected Austria's Christa Wirthumer-Hoche as chair for a three-year period. The news comes soon after the European Union's medicines regulator moved from the UK to the Netherlands.
This will be Wirthumer-Hoche's second and final term, as two terms is the maximum allowed under the rules of the Management Board.
Wirthumer-Hoche is head of the Austrian Medicines and Medical Devices Agency, a post she has held since October 2013.
Commenting on her re-election, Wirthumer-Hoche said "these are turbulent and challenging times for the agency". "I will strive to maintain the strong partnership between the EMA, member states and the Commission," she promised, adding this was "essential if we are to deal effectively with the major challenges we will face in the coming years".
Move from London to the Netherlands
In early March 2019, the EMA moved to Amsterdam. It is operating from temporary premises until its tailor-made home is completed.
The agency said it needed several months to rebuild its workforce, and would "continue to operate under business continuity conditions until at least the end of 2019 to safeguard core activities related to the evaluation and supervision of medicines". This might have an impact on the implementation of important pieces of legislation, added the EMA, such as the medical devices legislation, the veterinary legislation and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
At its next meeting in June 2019, the EMA's Management Board will discuss a list of temporarily suspended or reduced activities which could be gradually restored as a priority.
The EMA has moved to the Netherlands following the UK's decision to leave the European Union. The UK was expected to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 but at the time this News story went to press it was still unclear when and how the UK would leave the EU.
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