PGEU was founded in 1959 in parallel with what has today become the European Union. It was at the first “pharmacy days” meeting held in Milan, Italy in 1959 that the participants decided to formalise their co-operation by founding the association which today is known as PGEU in English or GPUE (Groupement pharmaceutique de l’Union Européenne) in French.
At that time, it was known simply as "Le Groupement Pharmaceutique". The pharmacists’ associations of the six founding members of the EU became the six founding members of the PGEU.
As European political and economic co-operation changed and developed over time, so has the PGEU. When PGEU was founded, its main purpose was exchanging information on pharmacy practice and the different models of pharmacy/
Over the years, as the EU has increased its competences and actions in the area of health and pharmaceuticals, PGEU has had to adapt itself to the changing environment. For example the 1980s saw the introduction of harmonised training and education of Community pharmacists through directives 85/432/EEC, laying out the length and content of the pharmacy qualification and directive 85/433/EEC lays down the procedures for the mutual recognition of pharmacy degrees across the EU.
The Amsterdam treaty introduced an EU competence in public health through article 152 which uses the principle of subsidiarity meaning that EU only acts where it can enhance and complement the activities of Member States and the organisation, funding and delivery of healthcare remains firmly with the Member States. Since article 152, the EU has been proposing legislation and initiatives in a wider range of areas related to public health.
This means PGEU needs to do more than just exchange information and be aware of and learn from other pharmacy models.
PGEU today's mission is to promote the role of the pharmacist as a key actor in public health.
In order to this today, we need to influence the decision making process at the European level in the development of EU legislation and other initiatives relevant to medicines and Public Health, so that the legislative framework supports Pharmacists in further developing their role as key player in provision healthcare to European citizens.