MADRID (Reuters)—The likely relocation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) from London threatens to disrupt the approval of new drugs and is a medium and long-term worry for top Spanish drugmaker Almirall, its chief executive says on Monday.
After Britain’s vote on June 23 to leave the European Union (EU), it’s widely expected to transfer to another city within the EU.
“When they invoke Article 50, EMA will probably leave Britain, and this will produce a very large disruption … it’s worrying that the approval process of new pharmaceuticals could be hit by this,” Eduardo Sanchiz says.
Article 50 is the EU treaty clause that would trigger two years of negotiations on the terms of Britain’s exit from the bloc.
Almirall, one of Spain’s top drugmakers, operates mostly in the U.S. and Europe, with Britain its fifth most important market. As a result, any impact from the devaluation of the pound would be limited, Sanchiz says.
Separately, Sanchiz says Almirall could be interested in acquiring assets of the Canadian drugs company Valeant, although the sales process was still very preliminary.