Transparency 56: Future headquarter of European agency of the medicine
Previously in eight publications of Transparency in Veterinaria Digital we paid attention to the subject of the Medicines’ Agencies. We consider that it is an important tool to design a national and supranational health models both in the human and in the animal health fields.
As the next step the United Kingdom with current headquarter of European Medicines Agency, the European Union has established the mechanism for choosing a new headquarters.
Finally, Holland has won the election after two votes and a draw between two finalists. Thus, Amsterdam will become the new headquarter of the European Medicines Agency after being chosen in a draw, against Milan, after two votes with the following finalists: Amsterdam, Milan and Copenhagen from an initial list composed of 18 cities: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Bonn, Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Lille, Milan, Porto, Sofia, Stockholm, Warsaw, Vienna and Zagreb.
Will be interesting to provide some information on those aspects that may have been important in this selection, and what were included in several reports prior to the day of the election of the new headquarters. We have ordered in three points those aspects, starting from the auditor KPMG, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, the OECD, Price Water house Coopers, Scientific American World view Scoreboard, World Bank, as well as those from the European Medicines Agency itself, which in our opinion may have had influence.
There are 3 points to consider:
(1) Aspects related to the legal, economic, scientific and communication environment.
(2) Aspects related to the work and business environment
(3) Aspects related to demography and access to services
We will expose each one below.
(1) Aspects related to the legal, economic, scientific and communication environment
In our opinion, these aspects may have been the most determining since they can directly influence the development of the daily activity of the Agency (guarantees, costs, scientific advice and international transport facility)
(1.1) In the Indexes of Global Transparency, Anti-Corruption, Political Stability, and absence of terrorism, the Netherlands overpassed the rest of the candidate countries according to the report prepared by the World Bank. Here we could attach some information published in recent years by this Transparency Blog: (nº15) on structural deficiencies of AEM, (nº 16) On AEM malfunction, (nº 17) on reform of the AEM, (nº 30) on reform of the AEM and (nº 45) on revolving doors.
(1.2) Regrading to the costs of the headquarters, the Netherlands offered tax incentives and a new building, the Vivaldi Building, that the Dutch government finances while the Agbar Tower Building was private and must be rented indefinitely and the Pirelli Tower offered by Milan was rent free for one year, increasing progressively until 2022.
(1.3) Regarding the scientific environment, investment figures and commitment to research, Amsterdam is considered a leader in scientific and technological innovation and has 5 universities related to the medical field among the 200 best in the world according to the Shanghai Index, compared to two in Barcelona and one in Milan.
(1.4) finally was considered that Amsterdam is also an excellent with its flight connections, while Barcelona and Milan were considered very good.
(2) Aspects related to the work and business environment
We understand that the possibility of obtaining local partners and the proximity of industries in the sector could have been considered less important than the previous group.
(2.1) Regarding the work environment and ease of hiring local partners, the percentage of young graduates in scientific and technological careers was evaluated at 41.3 per 1,000 people in Spain, compared to 27.1 in Italy and 19.6 in the Netherlands. However, the tendency was reversed when considering the scientific publications per million populations; Holland had 1,450, by 645 of Spain and 552 of Italy. More graduates in Spain and Italy but more publications in Holland.
(2.2) Regarding the business environment, especially in the biotechnology sector, Holland is considered, by Scientific American Worldview Scoreboard , the 14th country in the world, Spain the 29th and Italy the 38th. Public and private investment in companies in the sector in 2016 was higher in the Netherlands, 450 million dollars compared to 299 in Spain and 271 in Italy. Here we could attach some information published in recent years by this Transparency Blog: (No. 12) on revolving doors in the biotechnology sector, (No. 23) on revolving doors in the biotechnology sector and obtaining their own profit and finally (No. 46) on the situation of the biotechnology sector.
Although it seems that the biotechnology sector is considered the most relevant, in the development of medical and pharmaceutical sciences, we can also consider other non-biotechnological companies installed in the geographical environment of the headquarters. In this sector Milan has more companies in the pharmaceutical and medical sector than Barcelona and Amsterdam.
(3) Aspects related to the demographic and ease of access of services for the staff of the Agency
Living in a populated area means having more opportunities for services, so the demographic structure can be an attraction, although of minor importance, when choosing a location.
(3.1) thus data probably the least influential in the decision, the metropolitan population of Amsterdam is 1.9 million, Barcelona 3.5 million people and Milan 4.1 million
(3.2) Unemployment is higher in Spain than in Italy and the Netherlands
(3.2 Regarding public transport between the city and the airport and within the city, as well as the management of the city Amsterdam and Milan were considered excellent and Barcelona was considered good.
Finally in Veterinaria Digital we consider it necessary and important to have a reflection, away from all demagogies, when it comes to informing the European population about the aspects that can influence decision-making related to fundamental institutions in the structuring and future of European society.