Irish regulator Dr Lorraine Nolan elected chair of EMA

21 Mar 2022

Dr Lorraine Nolan, new chair of the EMA. Image: Luke Maxwell

Nolan is CEO of Ireland’s medicines regulator. Her appointment as EMA chair means two Irish women now hold senior positions within the EU body, with Emer Cooke serving as executive director.

Irishwoman Dr Lorraine Nolan has been appointed chairperson of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). She will take on the role for a three-year period following her election by the EMA’s board of management last week.

Nolan has served as vice-chair of the board since October 2019, having joined as a board member in 2016.

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She will take over the role of chairperson from Christa Wirthumer-Hoche, head of the Austrian Medicines and Medical Devices Agency, who has already served two three-year terms.

Nolan’s appointment means Ireland now has two women in high-profile positions within the EMA. Emer Cooke has been the executive director of the EU agency since 2020.

Cooke congratulated Nolan on her appointment, saying that she looked forward to their “continued close collaboration”. She also thanked the outgoing chair, Wirthumer-Hoche.

“Her extraordinary dedication and leadership over the past six years have been instrumental in supporting EMA’s response in the turbulent and challenging times it has faced, from Brexit to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Nolan has held several senior roles within Ireland’s HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority) and has been its CEO since 2016. She has more than two decades of experience in medicine and health product regulation and has a PhD from Trinity College Dublin in drug development.

“What has been evident throughout the past two years of the pandemic, and is clear also in the context of the devastating conflict in Ukraine, is that EMA must remain agile, responsive and ready to show leadership and solidarity in light of significant developments in the environment in which it operates,” Nolan said.

“As chair, my focus will be to continue and further enhance the strong partnership between EMA, national agencies and the European Commission. Collectively, we must ensure that EMA continues to deliver the highest standards of public and animal health protection while maintaining its global reputation as a modern, progressive and transparent regulator.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic