EMA released update on its Post-Brexit relocation

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European Medicines Agency staff survey indicates that the future of public health in Europe is at stake. To complement the European Commission’s assessment of all bids for the relocation of the Agency submitted by Member States that will be published later this month, EMA is making available the results of its most recent staff retention survey, which raised serious concerns.

The survey was launched on 4 September 2017 in the context of EMA’s business continuity planning, after all candidate host cities were known and EMA staff had the opportunity to study in detail the 19 Member States’ bids.

The results of the survey emphasize the importance of the upcoming decision on the EMA’s future seat as the retention of skilled and experienced staff is crucial for the Agency’s continuity of operations.

The outcome that was shared with staff earlier this month revealed that for certain locations staff retention rates could be significantly less than 30%. This would mean that the Agency is no longer able to function and, as there is no backup, this would have important consequences for public health in the EU. In a best case scenario, EMA could keep up to 81% of its workforce.

In accordance with the current business continuity planning, four clusters of candidate cities have emerged. The first cluster includes those cities where 65% or more of EMA staff indicated that they are likely to move. In the second cluster are cities where staff retention would range between 50 and 64%. The third cluster includes those to which between 30 and 49% of staff are likely to relocate. In the last cluster are those cities where less than 30% of EMA staff said they would follow.

In order to prepare for its relocation, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has been working on a business continuity plan aimed at ensuring that the assessment of medicines is not disrupted and that patients in Europe continue to have access to high quality, safe and effective medicines. Since November 2016, EMA carried out several staff surveys to help the Agency prepare for staff losses and to improve planning for succession and knowledge transfer. Some staff losses can be absorbed with EMA’s business continuity plan, but beyond a critical threshold the Agency will no longer be able to fulfil its mandate to protect the health of European citizens.

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