APB – the Interlocutor of the Belgian Pharmacy Sector

The Association of Pharmacists in Belgium (Algemene Pharmaceutische Bond/Association Pharmaceutique Belge – APB) is the federation of the Belgian professional associations of independent pharmacists and currently has almost 120 employees. Being the national federation of acknowledged pharmacists’ associations in Belgium, APB asserts the interests of all independent pharmacists and is the interlocutor of all official bodies on international and national level. President Lieven Zwaenepoel explains that APB protects the interests of more than four out of five public Belgian pharmacies. “Each day, one in 20 Belgians consults a pharmacist regarding a medicine or other health products, or to obtain specific health advice, and our goal is to contribute to a high-quality pharmaceutical service”, he says.

“Belgium has one of the densest pharmacy networks in Europe, with 4 910 pharmacies for 11,2 million inhabitants, which translates to one pharmacy for every 2 280 inhabitants”, Lieven Zwaenepoel points out and adds that “APB, on one hand, defends the interests of its members and, on the other hand, provides assistance and information necessary for the exercising of their profession”.

Aiming to ensure the sustainability and the development of Belgium’s pharmaceutical sector, APB’s primary mission is to stimulate, support and promote the expertise of independent pharmacists, in the service of their patients’ health. “By supporting the pharmacists as healthcare providers and experts of medicines, we are focused on strengthening our role as an association that represents the interests of the Belgian pharmacy sector, as well as to encourage a dynamic entrepreneurial culture and ensure the development of efficient services and tools adapted to the daily practice of pharmacy”, Lieven Zwaenepoel emphasizes.

Among its services and tools, APB offers its Service for Control of Medicines, which helps pharmacists to guarantee the quality of the medicines they dispense. Furthermore, this service offers logistics management of products withdrawn from the market, which also includes refunds for the pharmacists; day to dayupdate on all medicines which have been withdrawn; disposal of expired medicines; analysis and handling of complaints related to quality of products, etc.

Through their online platform, APB offers its members and stakeholders a wide variety of online services and specialised tools. This platform, with a clear structure and a wealth of professional information, is specifically tailored to the characteristics and access privileges of each user’s profile. Member pharmacists as well as other users can find targeted information in just a few clicks, including access to those files that best fit their profile.

APB is member of the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU), comprised of national associations and professional bodies of community pharmacists from 32 European countries and of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).