Bridges - podcasts
bridges vol. 11, September 2006 / Institutions & Organizations
by Irene Eckart
London is not the typical location for an EU body. First, because it is not Brussels; and second because Britain often likes to distinguish itself from "Europe," as many British refer to continental Europe. And yet the European Medicines Agency, the pharmaceutical regulatory body of the EU, has its headquarters at 7 Westferry Circus in London's Docklands, an area formerly used as a harbor, and today home to major banks, auditing firms, and media companies. Some say that this location was a consolation prize to the British for not being allowed to host the European Central Bank, an endeavor the UK pursued despite its intention never to adopt the Euro (€). Looking at the EMEA's efforts regarding transatlantic cooperation, however, the location might not be a mere happenstance, or if so, it was a lucky one.
What is the EMEA?
The European regulatory system for medicines is complex for the simple reason that the Member States regulate medicine together. This means that there are national agencies in addition to one central regulatory body, the European Medicines Agency, created in 1995. The recent expansion of the European Union to a membership of 25, as well as plans for future enlargement, is a challenge to every aspect of integration, and pharmaceutical regulation is no exception. Consequently, the EMEA's main responsibility and mission is to coordinate the scientific resources of the 25 EU Member States, with a view to providing European citizens with high quality, safe, and effective medicines for humans and animals and, at the same time, to advance towards a single market for medicines.
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