Europe’s CHMP regulatory committee has new chair

Europe’s top drugs regulatory committee has a new leader after Dr Tomas Salmonson stepped down as chair of the CHMP after six years.

Replacing him is Harald Enzmann, who was elected as chair of the CHMP – full name Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use – at its meeting last week.

Harald Enzmann

Enzmann is a senior figure at Germany’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, and has been a CHMP member since 2005, and vice chair since October 2016.

He also had a six-year spell at Bayer HealthCare starting in the late 90s, where he had scientific roles studying toxicology in rodents, as well as in cancer R&D using in vivo and in vitro cancer models.

Last week’s CHMP meeting was therefore the last to be chaired by Dr Tomas Salmonson, who retires after two three-year terms, the maximum allowed by legislation.

Salmonson is a senior scientific adviser at the Swedish Medical Products Agency, where he has worked since 1986.

The EMA noted in a statement that Salmonson was closely involved in the launch of the priority medicines (PRIME) scheme, which fast-tracks and supports innovative new drugs in the EU.

Speaking in 2016 when PRIME was launched, Salmonson said the CHMP wanted the scheme to ensure that breakthroughs in medicines reach patients quicker.

He said: “By strengthening collaboration between the scientific committees, and by gaining and sharing knowledge on the medicine throughout the development, we will not only accelerate patients’ access but also ensure an efficient use of available resources.”

He also led improvements in how the CHMP assesses the benefits and risks of medicines, and broke new ground by engaging with stakeholders such as international regulators and health technology assessment bodies.

Salmonson also helped to ensure that patients’ views informed the CHMP’s decision making.

Nevertheless he was also sharply critical of any attempts by pharma to influence patient groups’ thinking.

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