European community pharmacists elect Koen Straetmans as PGEU President and Risto Kanerva as PGEU Vice-President for 2023

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Today, at its General Assembly meeting, the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union has elected Mr. Koen Straetmans, from the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association (APB) as PGEU President for 2023 and Dr. Risto Kanerva from the Association of Finnish Pharmacies as PGEU Vice-President for 2023. 



In his acceptance speech Mr. Straetmans stressed: ”I’m very proud to have been  elected to serve as PGEU President. The upcoming revision of the EU pharmaceuticals legislation and the recently adopted Regulation on the European Health Data Space are going to have a significant impact on the pharmacy sector. I’m committed to working closely with PGEU staff and all PGEU members to ensure that community pharmacists views are taken into account in the EU decision making process and that the new regulatory framework will help us in our pharmacy daily practice and will bring tangible benefits to patients. In particular we need guarantee that the new legislation will introduce effective measures to improve the availability of medicines and mitigate shortages. We also need to be sure that the creation of the European Health Data Space will shape digital transformation in a way that truly supports pharmacists, that promotes interprofessional collaboration, that ensures data protection but also guarantees transparency and facilitates the collection of data to improve regulatory decisions and advances medical progress. 


Koen Straetmans is the President of the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association (APB) since 2020. He joined APB in 2007, first working in the scientific and in the regulatory and policy departments and then serving as APB Secretary General between 2016 and 2019. Son of two pharmacists and married with a pharmacist, he worked in several community pharmacies in Belgium since 2001 and now works in his own pharmacy in the South of Belgium. He is a qualified pharmacist and holds a Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Leuven. 



Dr. Kanerva stressed:“I’m truly honoured to have been elected as PGEU Vice-President. The wide network of 160.000 community pharmacies across Europe provide patients with high quality and accessible health care services. I look forward to working closely with all my European colleagues to further strenghten this network and to ensure that pharmacists’ expertise, skills and vital contribution to the healthcare systems are adequately recognised and valued at both national and European level“. Dr. Risto Kanerva is the President of The Association of Finnish Pharmacies (AFP). He is also a community pharmacist with 35 years of experience in different branches of pharmaceuticals trade. For twenty years he worked at Oriola, at the time one of the leading pharmaceutical wholesalers in the Nordic countries. As the president and CEO of the company he was also acting as the vice president of GIRP in Brussels. Before starting as a proprietary pharmacist Risto worked as the general manager of the Helsinki University Hospital Pharmacy. Risto was elected in the board of AFP the same year he started to run his pharmacy, currently in Helsinki Capital Area. He doctorated in Helsinki University Faculty of Pharmacy in late 1990’s and is still acting as a part time lecturer and researcher. Dr. Risto Kanerva is the President of The Association of Finnish Pharmacies (AFP). He is also a community pharmacist with 35 years of experience in different branches of pharmaceuticals trade. For twenty years he worked at Oriola, at the time one of the leading pharmaceutical wholesalers in the Nordic countries. As the president and CEO of the company he was also acting as the vice president of GIRP in Brussels. Before starting as a proprietary pharmacist Risto worked as the general manager of the Helsinki University Hospital Pharmacy. Risto was elected in the board of AFP the same year he started to run his pharmacy, currently in Helsinki Capital Area. He doctorated in Helsinki University Faculty of Pharmacy in late 1990’s and is still acting as a part time lecturer and researcher.   



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PR PGEU President and Vice President 2023