Europe's EMA to lose more staff than expected

1 August 2018 - Deborah Wilkes

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) expects to lose "more staff than initially anticipated", as it relocates from the UK to the Netherlands in March 2019.

As a result, the EMA will "further temporarily scale back and suspend activities".

The regulatory agency said it now expected a "staff loss of about 30%, with a high degree of uncertainty regarding mid-term staff retention".

"Staff who will not relocate to Amsterdam have already started to leave the agency, and this trend is expected to accelerate," commented the EMA. "In addition, due to the employment rules in the Netherlands, 135 short-term contract staff will no longer be able to work for the EMA."

Safeguarding core activities

The EMA plans to launch the next phase of its business continuity plan by 1 October 2018 at the latest. The agency said the plan would allow it to "safeguard core activities related to the evaluation and supervision of medicines while it has to intensify its preparations for the physical move to Amsterdam in March 2019 and cope with significant staff loss".

Activities initially impacted by the next phase of the business continuity plan, said the EMA, included collaboration at the international level, development and revision of guidelines, non-product-related working parties, and clinical data publication.

Detailed plans for the implementation of measures would be released as soon as they were available, added the EMA.

The EMA is relocating to the Netherlands following the UK's decision to leave the European Union. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was triggered on 29 March 2017, and the UK is expected to leave the European Union in March 2019.

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