Ex-EMA chief's pharma consulting plans reined in

The former executive director of the European Medicines Agency, Thomas Lonngren, is having a few regulatory strings knotted on to his plans to consult for pharma companies.

After consumer groups and legislators for the European Parliament objected to Lonngren's new venture to "provide advice and counsel to the pharmaceutical industry," the EMA has decided to restrict his post-EMA activities. The agency said Lonngren would be prevented from contacting anyone at the agency for two years and asked for some details on his work for the industry, in order to "be able to fence off all unjustified allegations."

The EMA is also prohibiting Lonngren from taking an executive position at a pharma company for two years, while prohibiting his offering product-related advice on issues that involve the agency.

Lonngren was chastised for making a tardy declaration of his pharma-related work to the EMA. He sent the agency, which reviews drugs much like the FDA, a note in late December about his consulting work. "I am very conscious of my obligations and commitments to the EMA and can assure you that in my new role there will be no conflict of interest," he stated.

One of Lonngren's last acts as head of the EMA was to offer some blistering criticism for the huge amount of money being spent on R&D relative to the actual new drug approvals that were made each year. "How many [new drugs] are approved each year-six, seven, eight, nine maybe? If the value of these few new drugs is worth 10, maybe 20 billion U.S. dollars, then where is the remainder of the $85 billion going?" asked Lonngren last December. "Maybe we could use this $60 billion in a better way?"

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