Two 'medicine men' about their relationship with EMA

Frank Verheijen and Emiel van Galen work at the Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB). They talk about their relationship with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

"I am head of the Veterinary Medicinal Products Unit," says Frank. "That is my link with EMA because it not only assesses medicines for people but also for animals. So there is also legislation and regulations for veterinary medicines. That means a test on quality, food safety and effectiveness.”

Similarities between MEB and EMA
Frank explains what the similarities are between his work at the Veterinary Medicinal Products Unit and what EMA does. "The origin of the work is based on the same European rules. These rules ensure that animal owners and veterinarians can rely on good veterinary medicines and that consumers can rely on the safety of milk, meat and eggs."

The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality is responsible for the policy and authorization of veterinary medicines in the Netherlands. "The Veterinary Medicinal Products Unit implements this," says Frank. "The assessment of veterinary medicines takes place in a European context. According to the regulations, EMA must assess certain types of medicines. These will then be marketed directly throughout the European Union. Other veterinary medicines are marketed in one or more Member States through assessments.”

Read the sequel to the interview with Frank Verheijen in which he talks about innovation of veterinary medicines and what he thinks about the relocation of EMA to Amsterdam.

Emiel van Galen is head of the Botanicals and Novel Foods Unit. He assesses herbal medicines. "These are medicines that are made from botanicals or from plants. That is my link with EMA.”

The herbal committee
Emiel: "EMA has several Scientific Committees. One of them is the herbal committee or ‘The Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products'. I’m in that committee and together with all the other Member States we assess and evaluate all scientific information about a particular herbal medicinal product.” Emiel mentions some examples of herbs for herbal medicines: "Think of St. John's wort, Milk thistle or Valerian root. Each time one of the members of the committee assesses a herb, discusses it and then produces a summary for the whole of the European Union with information on ingredients and their effects. This we call herbal monograph. Think of it as a blueprint, guideline or starting point for assessors and registration authorities of Member States. This is their basis for further national cooperation. Such as the evaluation of applications for authorization of herbal medicinal products.”

Read the sequel to the interview with Emiel van Galen in which he explains why EMA is important for European cooperation. He gives his opinion on the arrival of EMA in Amsterdam. He also talks about EMA walks.