RevolvingDoorWatch cases

Thomas Lönngren

Nationality: Sweden

Former employer: European Medicines Agency (for 10 years), Executive Director

Date: January, 2011

New employer: Pharma Executive Consulting Ltd + NDA Group, Strategic adviser

Institutional reaction:

Lönngren’s consultancy work was initially approved by EMA, although this approval was based on very limited information. After media coverage and NGO complaints, EMA was forced to go back to Lönngren to seek further information and clarification about his new roles. Ultimately, EMA approved all of Lönngren's new roles although they imposed a set of limitations on him for a period of two years which included prohibitions on “holding any kind of managerial, executive or consultative role in pharmaceutical companies or industry associations”, and on providing “product-related guidance or advice” about any matter falling within the remit of the Agency. The board also required that Lönngren should “not have any contacts with Agency staff or members of the Agency scientific committees in the context of his professional activities and shall not represent or accompany” third parties at meetings with the Agency". 

Comment from CEO:

"This case is very shocking because of the seniority of the official concerned and the high risk of conflicts of interest. Initially EMA entirely failed to take Lönngren's new consultancy work seriously and to properly consider potential conflicts of interest, until the media raised concerns. Even then, EMA failed to impose a cooling off period or ban on Lönngren undertaking work for consultancy companies, and instead came up with a set of limited conditions. It is not clear how these conditions are being monitored and enforced. EMA also failed to sanction Lönngren for not properly declaring all relevant information at the beginning. CEO is aware that the European Court of Auditors is currently investigating how EMA and other EU agencies tackle conflicts of interest and we will be interested to read their conclusions when they publish in early 2012 ".

Other info:

Lönngren has had a range of professional activities since leaving EMA. These include setting up his own consultancy firm Pharma Executive Consulting Ltd; becoming a Strategic Adviser to NDA, a leading consultancy firm for the pharmaceutical industry; being a non-executive board member of pharmaceuticals company CBio Ltd, Australia; Essex Woodlands, a venture capital company investing in the healthcare sector, where Lönngren was hired for six months to “provide strategic advice on business plans”; plus associations with three other organisations: the CMR Institute, the Tapestry network and the Athenaeum network, all of which have ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

On 19 December, ALTER-EU, Health Action International and Formindep wrote to Commissoner Dalli, Commissioner Sefcovic and the head of EMA to present further information about this case. They show how Mr Lönngren set up his firm Pharma Executive Consulting in November 2010, while he was still head of EMA. More information is available here: http://www.alter-eu.org/press-releases/2011/12/19/ex-ema-director-set-up-consultancy-while-still-in-office

More information is available in the ALTER-EU report: Block the revolving door - why we need to stop EU officials becoming lobbyists: http://www.alter-eu.org/revolving-doors

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