London — About a third of employees at the EU’s drug regulator are expected to quit as it leaves Britain because of Brexit, prompting the agency to temporarily scale back operations to focus on essential public-health activities. Staff who aren’t relocating to Amsterdam with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have already started to leave, a trend that’s set to accelerate, the regulator said in a statement on Wednesday. The agency expects to lose almost a third of its staff, more than it anticipated, with 135 short-term contractors no longer able to work due to labour laws in the Netherlands. The staff losses due to Brexit are disrupting work at the agency, which is the EU’s equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration and oversees medication safety for about 500-million people. With a workforce of about 900, the EMA is making a major move at a time when it’s beginning to evaluate more complex products, such as therapies to correct gene defects. Along with the staff loss of ab...

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