As in 2020, COVID-19 emphatically left its mark on 2021. In this annual report we take a look back at that exceptional and busy year. A year that, at the same time, was also marked by looking ahead to the future: to our contribution towards a road out of the pandemic, as well as towards the future of the MEB as a whole.

Looking ahead

Thanks to the extensive work on COVID-19 vaccines and medicines that started back in 2020, a number of significant milestones were achieved in 2021. Five coronavirus vaccines and six medicinal products for the treatment of COVID-19 have now been approved in Europe. The Netherlands, through the MEB, has been closely and intensively involved in the evaluation processes and in issuing scientific advice.

The media and general public also increasingly turned to us for reliable, independent information on the vaccines and medicines. We shared this information at various times and through various channels. All of this whilst our ‘normal’ work also had to continue as usual.

And not to forget the Veterinary Medicinal Products Unit. Staff worked hard all year to implement the two new European regulations that entered into force at the start of 2022. This process went very smoothly thanks to effective collaboration with numerous parties such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and other internal and external stakeholders.

As an organisation, we are looking ahead with the arrival of Paula Loekemeijer as new Secretary/Director. But also with the further development of the new divisional structure within our organisation. This process started in 2020 and was elaborated further in 2021. The aim of the new structure is to create clearer management lines and a more robust organisation.

In this annual report, we also account for our financial results. The figures reflect the work that we have done. One-off contributions from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports enabled us to close 2021 with a positive result. Explanatory notes on this result and the underlying figures can be found in the various chapters of this report and in the financial statements.

All in all, 2021 was a turbulent and exceptional year. We have a huge amount of admiration for all MEB employees who have displayed considerable commitment in a variety of areas to the assessment of the efficacy, safety and quality of medicinal products.

Ton de Boer, Chair, and Paula Loekemeijer, Secretary/Director and Ton de Boer, Chair