Stranger things have been said by politicians, particularly recently, but I can’t have been the only person surprised by Greg Clark’s turn at this year’s ABPI annual conference.
Asked about the EMA Clark, the UK government’s spokesperson for business, energy and industrial strategy, told the UK pharma gathering he wanted “as many [European] institutions here as possible”, adding: “I would like the EMA to continue to be within the UK.”
Meanwhile, in the real world, the temperature is certainly rising on the issue of where Europe’s regulatory authority will be located, with ‘not in the UK’ seemingly the only certainty at the moment. A decision from the EU’s heads of government is expected in the Autumn, and Copenhagen, Barcelona, Dublin and Lisbon are among those stepping up their public campaigns to host the EMA.
The regulator itself established a relocation preparation taskforce last year, with ongoing work focused on the potential losses of EMA staff and the contribution of the MHRA.
With that very much up in the air at the moment, the EMA is proceeding on the basis that, as of 30 March 2019, “the UK will no longer participate in the work of the EMA and the European medicines regulatory system”.
Should that be the case, the UK and European pharma industries will need more than smooth words from politicians to help ease this difficult situation.
Read: May 2017 issue of PME