EMA Reveals Online Plans


Applied Clinical Trials

Applied Clinical TrialsApplied Clinical Trials-08-01-2010
Volume 0
Issue 0

The European Medicines Agency has redesigned its Web site to improve transparency.

The European Medicines Agency has taken the wraps off its new Web site. The site (http://www.ema.europa.eu), which already receives an average of 500,000 visits per month, has been redesigned to improve openness and transparency. The overall aim is to make it a more useful resource for patients, health care professionals, regulators, and those involved in the regulation and safety of medicines in the European Union.

"Times change, and with the changing times, new expectations are set for design and interactivity of sites. Redesigning has enabled the Agency to address key user issues such as effective searching and browsing and reorganize 15 years of legacy content," noted a statement from the Agency.

Among the site's novel features are:

  • Quick medicine searches. This allows visitors to search for human and veterinary medicines by name and active substance. Herbal medicinal substances can also be searched for by name.

  • An online library, which enables users to search for all Agency documents currently online through a search of title and date published online.

  • Improved navigation, with better labeling and organization of content so that browsing is quicker for all groups.

  • Audience landing pages. The site flags up information of specific value to different users.

  • Online calendar and news search, allowing visitors to keep up to date with the Agency's latest news and events.

  • RSS feeds (most commonly expanded as "Really Simple Syndication") bring info straight to users as soon as it is published online.

Over the coming months, the Agency will continue to develop the site by increasing the use of multimedia and improving search function. Also, its IT staff will attempt to resolve teething problems, including the current difficulties with the redirects from the old Web site address to the new Web site address.

Currently, site navigation and Web content is only available in English, although key documents such as summaries for the public for medicines and the medicine package leaflet are available in all EU languages. The Agency hopes to begin to release language versions of the Web site over the next few years.

Meanwhile, the search for the Agency's new Executive Director is continuing. Thomas Lönngren has held the post since January 2001, but is due to leave at the end of this year. The vacancy was advertised at the start of 2010, but it is now being advertised again because the conditions and requirements have been reviewed. The European Commission will publish a new vacancy notice soon in the Official Journal of the European Union, and announcements will also appear in the national media and selected journals.

The Agency's doors will be officially closed on August 30 and November 1-2, and then from December 23-31. Its management board will meet on October 7 and December 16. The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use is due to meet on August 16-19, September 20-23, October 18-21, November 15-18, and December 13-16. The Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products will meet on September 7-8, October 6-7, November 9-10, and December 7-8, while the Pediatric Committee will meet on September 8-10, October 6-8, November 10-12, and December 8-10.

Finally, the EMA has published a new policy on communicating safety-related issues on medicines for human use. The new approach describes the various communication tools that are used, including the criteria for communicating on specific issues, the preparation and publication of materials, the timing of the publication, how the Agency works with the EU regulatory network, and how it shares communications material with other regulatory authorities, both in Europe and beyond.—Philip Ward

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