MEB Annual Report 2021: Looking ahead

The coronavirus had a big impact on the year 2021, just like it did in 2020. It made 2021 very special year once again. In the MEB 2021 Annual Report, we look back on what we accomplished, but we certainly also look ahead: focusing on our role in paving a way out of the pandemic and at the future of the MEB as a whole.

The extensive work done on the development of corona vaccines and medicines started in 2020 obviously. It did however lead to a number of milestones in 2021. Five corona vaccines received conditional approval in Europe, and so did six corona medicines by the end of 2021. The MEB was closely and intensively involved in the assessment processes and the provision of scientific advice.

All this was done in close collaboration with the European network, in which the MEB has a prominent role. “Actually, in 2021 we were in the top 5 in all areas, regarding rapporteur and co-rapporteur positions. That and our prominent role in the assessment of the corona vaccines, are signs of confidence we received from our European network partners. This should be regarded as a compliment to all MEB employees," says director Paula Loekemeijer.

Paula Loekemeijer started on 1 May as director of the agency and secretary of the Board. She succeeded Hugo Hurts, who retired in 2021. What struck her at first when she just started? “The enthusiasm of all MEB staff,” she says with conviction. “This is an organisation with people who really go the extra mile to achieve results: effective and proper medicines and vaccines that people can trust. The MEB is an organization that gives me great confidence looking ahead.”

Director Paula Loekemeijer and chair Ton de Boer of the MEB.

More visible than ever

The corona pandemic put the work of the MEB in the spotlight. The organisation is more visible than ever. “Of course we had already set something in motion in recent years, when it comes to showing who we are and what we do,” says MEB chair Ton de Boer. “COVID-19 has really accelerated that. We held eight press conferences, were very present in news media and in daily shows on television and we answered countless direct questions from consumers and patients, via social media, but also via our ‘Grootste Coronaspreekuur’. In doing so, we have responded to a need from the public. And that is important. It helps us in working to establish trust in medicines and showing the added value of what we do, even when it is not COVID-related.”

Milestone for Veterinary Medicinal Products Unit

The year 2021 was emphatically much more than just the corona pandemic. This was clearly visible at the Veterinary Medicinal Products Unit, focusing entirely on the Veterinary Medicinal Products Regulation and the Medicated Feed Regulation, which came into force on 28 January 2022. “All through 2021, but also well before that, an enormous amount of work has been done at the agency in preparation for this. This while the regular work continued. A fine example of teamwork”, Paula emphasises. “Both from our veterinary colleagues, as well as various other people in the organisation and at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality who contributed to this.”

Would you like to know what else happened in 2021? The MEB Annual Report 2021 provides you with an overview of the many activities, the facts and figures and the annual financial statement for 2021. We also compare our results again with those of the other European countries. This once again shows the important role of the MEB within the European network of medicines authorities.