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Harris confirms bid to house European Medicines Agency


Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed that Ireland will launch a formal bid to house the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

He said attracting the EMA was "one of the more interesting opportunities" afforded by Brexit.

"Given the importance of the EMA's work...it's important that any disruption to the agency's work should be kept to a minimum when it relocates from London, probably within the next couple of years," Mr Harris said at a pharmaceuticals industry conference in Dublin last week.

"My department...has already begun to lay the groundwork for preparing a formal bid, and I know that your industry will support our efforts to bring this prestigious agency to Dublin," he added. The EMA is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the EU.

It employs around 900 people, including temporary staff, and is highly sought-after by other EU countries, along with the European Banking Authority (EBA), which is also set to leave London after the Brexit vote. Officials representing Strasbourg, Lyon, Barcelona, and Milan have already expressed interest in the EMA.

Reuters has previously reported that Madrid, Stockholm, Warsaw and Vienna are also in the race to grab one or other organisation in the knowledge that banks and drugmakers will want to maintain close ties with key regulators.

Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association chief executive Oliver O'Connor told the Irish Independent that Ireland had "a strong case" for housing the EMA.

"I think it would be a very good addition to the capability that Ireland has already demonstrated on a global scale for manufacturing, development, and high regulatory standards," he added.

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