European Medicines Agency Management Board re-elects Pat O'Mahony as chair

Press release 18/06/2010

Board also discusses new proposals to handle conflicts of interests of scientific experts and reviews outcome of Agency evaluation

At its 10 June 2010 meeting in London, the European Medicines Agency's Management Board unanimously re-elected Pat O'Mahony, Chief Executive of the Irish Medicines Board, as chair for a second three-year mandate.

Accepting his re-election, Mr O'Mahony told the Board: “I will continue to represent the Board in providing leadership and direction, guidance and support to the European Medicines Agency's Executive Director and his staff, to ensure that the network model of which we are all part works to the full benefit of the European public. Cooperation within the network and mutual support are fundamental to this, and as chair of the Management Board I will continue to work actively to further develop this with the maximum engagement of all Board members.”

Proposals for better handling of conflicts of interests

The Board agreed on a way forward for introducing changes to the way the Agency handles potential conflicts of interests of experts involved in the evaluation of medicines, ahead of the final adoption of an updated policy in October 2010. The proposed changes are aimed at achieving a more robust, efficient and transparent system that strikes a better balance between restricting the involvement of experts with conflicting interests in the Agency's activities and ensuring the availability of the best scientific expertise to support the Agency's scientific opinions.

Transparency is one of the key aspects of the new proposals. The Agency is proposing to systematically publish all declarations of interests submitted by the experts on its website and is looking at other measures to increase transparency on conflicts of interests throughout the whole scientific evaluation process for medicines.

Evaluation of the European Medicines Agency

An independent evaluation of the European Medicines Agency shows that the Agency is highly regarded among its stakeholders within and outside the European Union, and has proved to be effective in protecting public and animal health by providing clear and highly valued scientific opinions on medicinal products for animal and human use. The conclusions of the report on the performance of the Agency over the years are also confirmed by the Board's positive assessment of the Agency's work as reported in the annual activity report for the year 2009.

While the report acknowledges that the European Medicines Agency and the European medicines network as a whole have so far delivered their work to the highest standards, it also makes a number of recommendations aimed at helping the Agency to cope with the ever-increasing volume and complexity of its operations.

The Agency and the Management Board, together with the European Commission and key stakeholders, will be further discussing these recommendations at a conference on 30 June 2010.

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