Post Brexit, there are a number of European centres that are very keen to be seen as the perfect setting for the next European Medicines Agency headquarters. No firm decisions have been made as yet, but it is widely thought that the organisation, the largest EU body in Britain, will need to relocate to function effectively within the EU. Described as ‘too early to foresee the implications’ by an EMA spokesperson, the move has nevertheless potentially far-reaching effects; not just for those that work within its 600 strong workforce, but also for the drug companies and officials that it regulates. They could face a period of uncertainty and possible complications and disruptions, especially with the approval process of new drugs.
Sweden, Italy, France, Denmark, Germany and even Poland have all shown an interest in hosting the EMA’s head office; several of the countries have set up task forces solely with the aim to ensure that either the EMA or European Banking Authority will end up in their cities.
All parties are keen to stress that nothing will actually happen for at least 2 years, and that period does not start until Article 50 has been invoked. However, the potential ramifications across the European drugs industry are such that many in UK pharmaceuticals fear a migration of talent, a decrease in research grants and general upheaval. Spokespeople from some of the largest European pharmaceutical companies have sought to calm the situation, with promises of minimising disruption and working to ensure a smooth transition into Brexit, whatever it may bring.