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The European Medicines Agency is still too close to industry

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 06 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2412

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What about a Brexit?

Pr Garrattini is certainly right on most topics, but seems to have missed a very important issue: what happens after a Brexit?

A referendum is planned in the UK to define whether the UK (or is it England alone?) leaves the EU. IF this happens, what will become of the EMA in London. I do not see how a European institution can remain in a country that is no longer EU. Therefore the EMA will have to leave London to go elsewhere (Scotland, perhaps? I would favour the Netherlands, probably). What will this mean for ongoing drug evaluation processes? How much disruption will there be, with what consequences to patients, from drugs taking longer to reach the market, or from disruptions in the evaluation process? How many companies have set up offices in London or thereabouts to be closer to the EMA, that will leave the UK? How many EMA employees, and lobbyists, will have to relocate? What will be the economic consequences for UK labs and experts, and the effect on the influence of MHRA in EMA?

Has this been discussed publicly in the UK? This is an important matter for those who work in the medicines environment. It cannot simply be dismissed by stating Brexit will never happen. It might.

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 May 2016
nicholas moore
professor of clinical pharmacology
university of Bordeaux
146 ru Leo Saignat, 33076 Bordeaux, France