CEO of MHRA set to leave agency in wake of Brexit

Ian Hudson (MHRA)

The CEO of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is set to leave the agency in 10 months. Ian Hudson’s decision means the agency faces the prospect of changing leaders while dealing with the fallout from Brexit.

The U.K. is due to leave the European Union toward the end of March. Six months after that, Hudson will end his stint as head of the MHRA. The regulatory implications of Brexit remain uncertain, but it is possible Hudson will leave an agency that will have recently been forced to operate independently of the European Medicines Agency.

Hudson’s successor could therefore inherit an organization trying to cope with the expansion of its regulatory responsibilities while mitigating the effects of Brexit on drug supply, approvals and other activities. Despite that, Hudson thinks September is the right time to leave. 

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“My reasons for stepping down are both personal and professional,” Hudson said in a statement. “I had always intended to reduce my total work commitment to enable me to pursue other things and perhaps have more of a portfolio career by the time I reached 60, which has now happened. I feel the time is right for a new person to guide the agency and our work through its next phase, following the U.K.’s departure from the European Union next year,” 

Hudson has served as CEO of MHRA since September 2013 and has worked in U.K. drug regulation since 2001. The length of Hudson’s involvement in U.K. drug regulation means his initial appointment predated the creation of MHRA, which was founded in 2003 through the merger of existing drug and device agencies.

Yet, despite the changes Hudson has seen during his time at MHRA and its predecessor, it is possible the most dramatic shift will occur in the final six months of his tenure. Whether that happens may depend on Prime Minister Theresa May’s ability to get a broadly unpopular agreement designed to soften the initial impact of Brexit through Parliament.

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