Patients and health care providers in Belgium will soon find a range of medical products more easily and at a lower cost, including sterile items such as bandages and probes. To date, these products can only be purchased in pharmacies, but as of 7 February they will also be available in supermarkets and other stores, which should lead to lower prices and increase availability, according to Federal Minister of Health.
These changes are made possible by the entry into force of new EU regulations on the distribution of medical devices, inspired by 2017 EU regulation.
Products sold in supermarkets, however, must meet the same strict criteria of quality, safety and traceability as those sold by pharmacists. New dealers must be registered in advance with the Federal Agency for Medicine and Health Products, which ensures the control.
This greater accessibility, however, applies only to medical devices being sold without a prescription. To get those with a prescription, one will still have to go to pharmacies, which, by the way, will remain the only place where drugs may be bought.
The Brussels Times