The UK will relinquish the presidency of the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU), which comprises the national associations and professional bodies of community pharmacists in 32 European countries, for the last time this year, as it prepares to leave the EU.
In future, the UK is likely to be an observer member, as are other non-EU states, according to outgoing president Raj Patel, who will leave his post at the end of this year.
He will be replaced by Jesus Santamaria, from Spain, who was elected at the recent PGEU general assembly in London.
Mr Patel, who is on the board of the National Pharmacy Association, says the PGEU represents 400,000 community pharmacists across Europe, who have contact with 46 million people a day. It lobbies at EU level on issues of concern to its member organisations.
Mr Patel says pharmacy faces similar challenges across the EU, with growing numbers of older people creating pressures across health systems.
Pharmacy could help to reduce hospitalisations and relieve that pressure, he adds. “We have to move with the times and be fit for purpose with our premises, our professionalism and our care,” he says.