The European Union's medicines regulator is currently based in Canary Wharf, London - but it will need to relocate due to Brexit. 19 cities in the EU27 had bid to take over the hosting of the agency, with the Dutch city coming out on top.
The Agency has 16 months to prepare for the relocation. The operations will move to Amsterdam by 30 March 2019 at the latest.
"We welcome today’s decision on the new location of EMA. Now that we finally know where our journey is taking us, we can take concrete actions for a successful move," said EMA Executive Director Guido Rasi.
Mr Rasi said Amsterdam ticked many boxes, with excellent connectivity and building. One big concern would be whether the EMA would be able to operate satisfactorily - and in particular whether staff would move. However, Mr Rasi claimed that surveys had shown that a large majority of EMA staff would move to Amsterdam. Despite that, Mr Rasi acknowledged that their activities would be impacted and the EMA had to plan now to avoid there being gaps in knowledge and expertise.
The EMA has been based in London since it was established in 1995, now employing about 900 staff.
The BioIndustry Association's Chief Executive Officer, Steve Bates, commented:
"London’s loss is Amsterdam’s gain. Businesses now need certainty. The best way to do this is by an early agreement to a transition timeframe and continued close regulatory co-operation. We must now ensure Brexit does not disrupt the safe supply of vital medicines to tens of millions of families in the EU 27 and the UK."
Change in location of the regulator and questions over how the UK's regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, will work with the EMA moving forward, have led to uncertainty. Many pharma and medical device organisations are looking to plan now.