Guido Rasi, Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency, quoted in the Financial Times on 5 July 2012 said: "I have not approved any post-EMA activities for Vincenzo Salvatore. Before he left the Agency ... he indicated he was intending to work as an independent lawyer and as consultant for some law firms, but without providing any specific details." Rasi went on to say that he has set up a review by a “joint committee” of the agency which will probe possible conflicts of interest arising from this case. Source: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/c597b412-c6b4-11e1-95ea-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1zpLj12Db
Now the "joint committee" has met and a response has been issued by EMA to Professor Salvatore. His new role at Sidley Austin has been approved (as have other roles at the University of Insubria, the Italian Medicines Agency and his own legal practice) but several restrictions have been applied:
- he will not undertake activity concerning any legal case involving or connected with EMA
- for two years, he will not undertake managerial or executive roles for pharmaceutical companies, nor will he provide advice on EMA procedures
- he will not liaise with EMA staff or attend EMA meetings on specific products
Furthermore, Guido Rasi wrote a strongly-worded letter to Professor Salvatore which heavily criticised the manner of his departure from EMA.
Sidley Austin has told CEO that "Sidley and Professor Salvatore have followed every procedure required regarding his departure from the EMA. Since we are awaiting the results as the EMA works through its process, it is not appropriate to comment further at this time." (Email: 11 July 2012)
Professor Salvatore is quoted by the Financial Times as saying “there is nothing to stop people working in their field of expertise” after working at the agency and that he was bound by professional ethics not to discuss previous clients or pending issues in which he was involved: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/c597b412-c6b4-11e1-95ea-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1zpLj12Db
Whilst at the European Medicines Agency for over seven years, Professor Salavtore "was responsible for defending the EMA’s actions in court, coordinating legal advice and providing legal support and interpretative guidance to the EMA’s governing bodies and its six Scientific Committees. He routinely represented the EMA before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, both in pharmaceutical and corporate-related legal proceedings, and was the EMA’s Data Protection Officer". Source: http://www.sidley.com/vincenzo-salvatore/
Sidley Austin told the Financial Times that Professor Salvatore would “provide strategic legal counselling on the EU’s legal process regulating all aspects of the pharmaceutical industry” and “assist life science companies in understanding and applying upcoming drug and medical device legislation.” http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/c597b412-c6b4-11e1-95ea-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1zpLj12Db
Sidley Austin LLP is not listed in the EU's lobby register (as of 11 July 2012) although their website indicates that they do have contact with several EU institutions: "We represent clients on a wide variety of matters before the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), EU Member State authorities and the European Courts". Source: http://www.sidley.com/eu_lifesciences/
See these sources for additional information:
You can read the documents released to CEO in this case by EMA below:
Whilst at EMA, Professor Salvatore was closely involved in overseeing the revolving door process for departing EMA staff. See: http://www.corporateeurope.org/revolvingdoorwatch/case/xavier-luria
"The issues raised by this case are very serious. Professor Salvatore was clearly a senior EMA official - in fact he was involved in signing-off on other officials' revolving door moves - and it is shocking to learn that EMA apparently did not give specific approval for his future activities with a major law firm in Brussels before he started them. The current revolving door rules make it clear that permission should be given before new activities are started, rather than being assessed retrospectively. Afterall, the revolving door is an important way in which the private sector can 'capture' or unduly influence the work of the public sector and it is vital that all public authorities including the EU agencies and the European Commission take this seriously.
“It is interesting that the EMA Executive Director has now said that he will revisit the current processes when staff leave and that in the future there might be more use of cooling-off periods. Cooling-off periods are the best way to reduce the risk of conflicts of interest from revolving door moves; the European institutions have the authority to impose them when the case merits it. CEO continues to think that this power is not used sufficiently. Furthermore, EMA should revise their 2011 ruling that former staff can advise pharmaceutical companies after they have left as long as they do so as consultants rather than as staff/ employees. This appears to be a loophole in the rules which could leave potential conflicts of interest unregulated. Finally, all EU institutions need to seriously reconsider how these rules apply to contract agents (as opposed to permanent staff) to ensure that all the rules are followed; restrictions and / or cooling-off periods abided by; and sanctions applied in the instance of non-compliance."