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EMA sees 1.4% budget cut amid Brexit relocation plan

The European Medicines Agency's budget for 2019 will decrease by 1.4% year over year to about €333 million due to Brexit-related uncertainty.

According to a Dec. 14 report from the EMA's management board, the decrease results from the regulator's plan to relocate its headquarters due to Brexit from London to Amsterdam. The agency said its temporary office in Amsterdam will be fully operational Jan. 1, 2019, paving the way for its final move in March next year.

The EMA's budget is expected to stabilize in 2020 after the agency resumes all of its activities, some of which have been scaled back to focus on the move. In a relocation plan mapped out in August, the agency planned temporary cuts in its activities to focus on its core task of evaluating and supervising medicines. Affected activities include international collaborations, development of new guidelines, presence at stakeholder meetings as well as the publication of clinical data.

The regulator now expects to lose about 25% of its overall workforce in the relocation, slightly lower than the 30% staff loss expected in August.

EMA also expects to receive fewer marketing applications in 2019 compared to 2018: 102 versus 109 for human therapies and 14 versus 18 for veterinary medicines. However, the regulator expects an increase of 3.8% year-over-year in its scientific advice on medicine development in 2019 at 708, compared to 682 in 2018.