Europe Watches Conflicts of Interest

The European Medicines Agency revised its policy on conflicts of interest in response to concerns regarding its ability to conduct independent evaluations.

By | April 5, 2012

Flickr, Seattle Municipal Archives


The European Medicines Agency, which oversees evaluation and approval of medical products in the European Union, has strengthened rules aimed at preventing conflicts of interest in its employees, reported InPharm. The new rules aim to reduce ties between board members and the pharmaceutical industry, increase scrutiny of declared conflicts of interest, and institute new procedures when conflicts of interest are not disclosed.

The new policy was spurred by strong criticisms of the EMA by the European Parliament, after the former EMA executive director was suspected of running a consulting group while in office, and left the position in December 2010 to join a pharma consulting firm. Last year, European Parliament expressed severe doubt regarding the EMA’s ability to impartially evaluate human medicines.

EMA’s new director, Guido Rasi, emphasized a new focus on conflicts of interest, telling InPharm, “Since taking up the leadership of the European Medicines Agency in November, one of my main focuses has been on strengthening the ways the Agency deals with conflicts of interests and transparency.”

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