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New EMA executive director Guido Rasi takes office

Rasi replaces Thomas Lonngren, who left the European Medicines Agency in December last year

Guido Rasi has officially started as head of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The European drugs regulator has been without an executive director since December last year following the departure of Thomas Lonngren and has struggled to fill the vacancy.

The appointment process was delayed by errors in the way it was advertised, forcing the EMA's head of administration Andreas Pott to step in as interim head.

Rasi was previously director-general of the Italian Medicines Agency for three years, during which time he also served as a member of the EMA's management board.

The EMA acknowledged Rasi joins at a “challenging time”, highlighting the work it faces in preparing for the implementation of forthcoming legislation in pharmacovigilance, falsified medicines, information to patients and veterinary medicines.

Rasi said: “Building on the successes of the past 16 years, I see the next phase of the Agency's development to be focused on re-thinking how medicines contribute more broadly to public health, how access to medicines can be assured in a world of increasing scarcity, and a growing focus on safety.

“It is precisely in these areas that, as a scientist and physician, I believe I can contribute most to EMA, its partners and stakeholders and above all to the health of European citizens. I would like to recognise the leadership of Andreas Pott, who has been Acting Executive Director since January 2011, and the work of the Agency's staff of professionals. I look forward to working alongside them in the years ahead.”

Rasi has a degree in medicine and surgery, with specialisation in internal medicine, allergology and clinical immunology. From 1978 to 1990, he worked as a physician in hospital, research and private practice and after that worked in research at the Institute for Experimental Medicine of the National Research Council in Rome, directing the molecular medicine section from 2002 to 2005 and the Tor Vegata section from 2005 to 2008.

17th November 2011

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