German EU Council Presidency: Paul-Ehrlich-Institut Hosts Meeting of the European Heads of Medicines Agencies

22 / 2020

The heads of the European Medicines Agencies (HMAs) met virtually on 26 November 2020. The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines has organised the meeting within Gemany’s presidency of the EU Council jointly with the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, BVL). In this context, the forthcoming marketing authorisation of the first COVID-19 vaccines is in the focus. Jens Spahn, Federal Minister of Health opened the meeting by a welcome address. "I have every confidence that the HMA will contribute to shaping the way out of the pandemic - and that we will master future challenges together." Professor Klaus Cichutek, president of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut continued: "The HMA jointly with the European Medicines Agency have created the basis for a rapid, targeted development and safe marketing authorisation of COVID-19 vaccines. This is now paying off."

Logo EU Presidency Germany 2020 (Source: Press Office)

The Heads of Medicine Agencies are creating a decentralised network of national medicines agencies for human and veterinary medicines in the European Economic Area. Their aim is the protection and advancement of public health of all citizens in Europe. The common basis for cross-border cooperation of the heads of National Competent Authorities (NCA) is a high degree of expertise and optimisation of regulatory processes with regard to quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. In this context, the HMA focus is the entire European field of authorisation of medicines.

The HMA closely cooperate with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission. Representatives of the EMA, the European Commission, and the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM), which is responsible for experimental testing of medicines, also participated in the HMA meeting, which takes place four times a year. In joint projects such as the implementation of European requirements, but also acutely required rules such as the guidance on the marketing authorisation of COVID-19 vaccines, these actors cooperate closely and in a flexible and committed manner within European health care.

Other subjects of today’s meeting included an HMA crisis plan, the implementation of the joint HMA/EMA Strategy 2025, the forthcoming Brexit, and the implementation of the new veterinary vaccines legislation.

Updated: 26.11.2020