Deactivation of PBS pharmacist approvals

Information for pharmacists who want to temporarily 'deactivate' an approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits.

Applications for deactivation

Approved pharmacists who need to stop business as a pharmacist, for a short and specific period of time, must apply in writing for a deactivation of the approved pharmacy location.

The application needs to give the reasons and, if needed, supporting documents before you can stop supplying pharmaceutical benefits from that location.

An approved pharmacist who stops business as a pharmacist at the approved pharmacy without requesting a deactivation of their approval, may have their approval cancelled under Section 98(3) of the National Health Act 1953 (the Act).

Reasons for deactivation

When we consider a request for deactivation, we take into account the need for the convenient and ongoing supply of pharmaceutical benefits in communities serviced by the approved pharmacy location. This also helps us determine how long the deactivation period should be.

It is important to note that the continuing commercial viability of a pharmacy may not be a relevant consideration to us, when making a decision whether to endorse the deactivation of a pharmacy approval.

We'll consider an application to deactivate an approval for a short and specific period of time (this may be different to the period you request) in the following circumstances:

(1) There's no proposed change in the location of the pharmacy or the approved pharmacist

Where:

  • you need to stop business as a pharmacist at the approved pharmacy, for compelling and demonstrated personal reasons (e.g. illness), and you couldn't get a locum pharmacist to run the pharmacy
  • you're unable to open the pharmacy due to minor works such as shop renovations

(2) There's a proposed change in the approved pharmacist and no proposed change in the location of the pharmacy

Where:

  • you've entered into a contract for sale, transfer or disposal of the pharmacy business at its current location
  • you're unable, for reasons beyond your control, to carry on business as a pharmacist at the approved pharmacy until the transfer of ownership occurs

(3) There's a proposed change in the location of the pharmacy, irrespective of whether there's also a proposed change in the approved pharmacist

Where:

  • the ongoing leasing of the approved pharmacy can’t be resolved with the landlord, and the pharmacy business will close before final negotiation of a lease at a new location
  • in these circumstances, we’ll consider a deactivation for a very short period:
    • to secure the intent to lease
    • a signed lease for new premises, and
    • to make an application to the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA) under the relevant rule in line with the scheduled meeting dates
      • a request to deactivate the approval where the pharmacy has vacated the approved pharmacy, and the pharmacist wants to look for other premises, may not be a sufficient reason to grant the deactivation
  • you want to relocate the pharmacy to other premises and an application has been submitted to the ACPA to relocate the pharmacy, and you can’t, for reasons beyond your control, carry on business as a pharmacist at the approved pharmacy location
  • the ACPA has made a recommendation that the application be approved to relocate the pharmacy, for reasons beyond your control, you cannot carry on business as a pharmacist at the approved pharmacy location, or at the proposed pharmacy location

Relationship to the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority process

The ACPA may reject an application to relocate a pharmacy that isn't trading, if we haven't already granted a deactivation for the same pharmacy.

Where there is a proposed change in the location of the pharmacy, it is a precondition that the pharmacy will be ready to trade within 6 months of the ACPA recommendation to us.

Making an application

The application and supporting documents must clearly support the reasons for wanting to deactivate an approval for a short and specific period. Some examples include, but aren't limited to:

  • documents supporting the steps to resolve leasing or legal disputes and potential alternatives for the pharmacist
  • written advice from the leasing management about renovations to the premises and the need for the pharmacy to vacate for a specific period
  • written confirmation of an inability to operate the pharmacy due to illness
  • written evidence that the services of a locum pharmacist could not be obtained to continue the pharmacy business

The application must also include the period of time for which the applicant is seeking deactivation.

We may at any time:

  • ask for additional information from you or an authorised representative during the deactivation period
  • vary the deactivation decision
  • notify you if we intend to cancel the approval under Section 98(3) of the Act

Extending the deactivation

We'll only extend the period of deactivation beyond the original request in exceptional circumstances and with supporting documents.

Change of circumstances

We use the reasons outlined in an application to approve a deactivation period.

You must tell us in writing if your circumstances change at any stage during the deactivation period, and before the end of the approved deactivation period.

If we become aware of any significant change in your circumstances, we'll ask you to provide reasons in writing as to why your approval shouldn't be cancelled under Section 98(3) of the Act.

Policy

These guidelines are subject to the provisions of the National Health Act 1953 and related legislation. If there's any conflict between these guidelines and the legislation, the legislation prevails.

Page last updated: 27 August 2017