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2/22/17

EU Medicine Agency: Crowded race to win EU medicines agency- by Aleksandra Eriksson

The London-based European Medicine Agency (EMA) will need a new home after Brexit, and almost a dozen European cities are already vying over the regulatory gem.

Today, almost all new or innovative medicines are submitted to EMA for assessment, which evaluates whether they are safe to put on the EU market. The agency comes with almost 900 expert workers, paid for by the EU; comprehensive research networks; and a €300 million a year budget.

Acting as a host for EMA is a boon for a country's life science sector, but also benefits the hospitality sector: some 400 people fly in to the agency each day.

Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Dublin, Lisbon, Milan and Stockholm have already declared willing to be the next host of the EMA, but more candidates are mulling their bids. Sources say that at least 20 member states are considering throwing their hat into the ring.

As much things related to Brexit, the race will be uncharted waters. There is no fixed procedure for how to elect the next headquarters; the new seat must only be chosen by unanimity in the Council, where EU member states are represented, which doesn't make the task easier.

"We are expecting the process to get mired in basic, competitive instincts," said one EU diplomat working on her country's EMA bid.

So far, cities are entering the contest as a beauty pageant, touting themselves as pro-European, cosmopolitan, with good food, and better weather than London. All also stress their vibrant pharmaceuticals industries.

Amsterdam puffs up its "outstanding international connections".

Read more: Crowded race to win EU medicines agency

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