Medicines Agency Assessment Day For Helsinki

Generic pills illustration / Credit: Creative Commons License

Helsinki will find out today what the European Commission thinks of its bid to be the new home of the European Medicines Agency EMA.

The agency is moving out of London due to Brexit, and looking for a new home. Helsinki is one of 19 cities vying to host the agency. Other cities include Stockholm, Amsterdam and Warsaw.

However, the EMA warned this week that eight of the cities are so unpopular with staff, and so unsuitable for their work, that up to 70% of workers could quit if the agency was relocated there – one city scored so low with staff that only 6% said they would continue working with the European agency if they were forced to move there.

The agency warns that if staff retention rates are low, then it could mean delays in giving approval for life-saving drugs to get to patients.

Candidate cities had to give a final presentation in Brussels this week, with Helsinki’s Mayor Jan Vapavuori (NCP) telling the audience that since Helsinki already hosts the European Chemicals Agency ECHA that there could be some possibilities for ‘synergies’ like sharing office space or computer infrastructure.

Today’s European Commission assessment won’t give any rankings for the 19 cities, but it will make comments about the suitability to host the agency, looking at things like how many hotel the candidate city has, connections with other EU capitals, suitability of schooling for more than 600 children of staff members and the geographical spread of agencies across the EU as a whole. Some countries like Cyprus, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria don’t currently have any EU agencies.

EU leaders will vote in October for the winning city.