Press Release

Minister Simon Harris receives Government go ahead for a campaign to relocate European Medicines Agency to Dublin

Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD confirmed today that Ireland will formally bid to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in the aftermath of Brexit.

The EMA plays a very important role in the protection and promotion of public health through the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines for human and veterinary use in the European Union. The EMA has been based in London since 1995.

The Irish Government is concerned about the uncertainty created around the future of this key Agency by the Brexit vote and believes that, once Article 50 has been triggered, an early decision on a new location for the EMA would be helpful in making the transition as smooth as possible.

Minister Harris said,“Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, it appears inevitable that the European Medicines Agency will have to be relocated to another EU Member State. The Irish Government believes that Dublin would be a very suitable location and that a move to the Irish capital would minimise the disruption to the business of the EMA, thus ensuring continued protection of EU citizens and providing reassurance to the industries which it regulates.”

Over the last 20 years the EMA has built a reputation for excellence within the global pharmaceutical regulatory system. This is in large part due to the expertise and skills of its staff. Minister Harris said that it will be particularly important to retain as many of these staff as possible. He believes that relocation to Dublin is the best option in this regard and should prove very attractive to EMA staff and their families.

In addition to highlighting Dublin’s strengths in terms of EMA staff retention, Minister Harris also noted that Dublin is an English-speaking location and that English is the working language of the EMA and the pharmaceutical industry. The Minister also emphasised the strong support which the Irish medicines regulator – the Health Products Regulatory Authority – would be able to provide to the EMA.

While background work on this proposal has been ongoing for a number of months, today’s Cabinet decision confirms that there will be a whole-of-Government approach to promoting the relocation of the EMA to Ireland. An interdepartmental/interagency group will be established immediately, including the Department of the Taoiseach, Department of Health, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Health Products Regulatory Authority, IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, and the Health Research Board . The group will develop a detailed proposal by early 2017 and the Government will work to promote the selection of Dublin as the new location for the EMA, in discussion with the EU Commission and other Member States.