PBS Community Pharmacies

Information for pharmacists and those who want to get a new pharmacy, relocate a pharmacy or manage a pharmacies arrangements.

Set up or relocate a pharmacy

The Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA) will need to assess your application under the Pharmacy Location Rules before you can:

  • set up a new pharmacy, or
  • relocate your existing pharmacy

The ACPA meet once a month and make a recommendation to us. Before you apply you should go to the Department of Health website and read more about:

Set up a new pharmacy

You must get approval to become a PBS approved pharmacist. This means you can supply Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidised medicine under section 90 of the National Health Act 1953.

To do this you must:

Relocate an existing pharmacy

You must get approval to relocate your pharmacy to claim for PBS medicines. To do this you must:

Read more about the Deactivation Guidelines.

When you submit your application, you can also use it if you’re relocating and changing ownership of the pharmacy at the same time.

Claiming for PBS medicines

The Commonwealth will reimburse you for PBS medicines supplied to Australian residents and eligible overseas visitors.

To make a claim for reimbursement, you need to submit all of the following forms:

Medicare will then issue you with a digital certificate. Read more about Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) digital certificates.

You will need to apply for a new approval number and a new digital certificate to claim online if you:

  • relocate your pharmacy, or
  • change ownership

You must not make a claim for payment for the supply of a PBS medicine at or from unapproved premises. Even if those premises get approval later. If you do, you will have to pay back 100% of your claims during this period.

Pharmacists claiming on your behalf

If your pharmacy has approval to supply PBS medicines, you can authorise other pharmacists to act on your behalf to:

  • submit PBS online claims, and
  • endorse prescriptions

Use the Authority for authorised pharmacists to sign claim forms on behalf of Approved Pharmacists form to authorise or request removal of previously authorised pharmacists. 

Changes to a pharmacy

Trading name

You must get approval to change your pharmacy trading name. To do this you must:

  • submit a Change of pharmacy trading name form
  • provide a current ASIC report and ABN information
  • provide evidence from the relevant state or territory regulatory authority of the name change

A change of trading name won’t change your approval number.

Size of a pharmacy premise

You must get approval to expand or reduce the size of your pharmacy premises. To do this you must:

Pharmacy ownership

You must get approval to sell or transfer ownership of your pharmacy. To do this you must:

If approved, you will be issued a new pharmacy approval number. The previous owners' approval number will be cancelled. New owners will need to register for online claiming of PBS medicines.

Temporary pharmacy closure - deactivation

You must get approval to close your pharmacy temporarily and have your pharmacy approval deactivated. If you close your pharmacy without prior approval, you risk having your pharmacy approval cancelled.

Deactivation guidelines outline the circumstances, for example renovations or illness. We may seek additional information from the approved pharmacist during the deactivation period or vary the deactivation decision.

Once we have deactivated your pharmacy, notify your relevant state or territory regulatory authority of your temporarily pharmacy closure.

To reopen your pharmacy, first request that we reactivate your pharmacy approval. Then notify your relevant state or territory regulatory authority that your pharmacy has reopened.

Receivership

When a PBS approved pharmacist goes into receivership, the receivers and managers must provide us with:

  • notice of appointment of receivers and managers
  • signed evidence of acceptance of appointment of receivers and managers on relevant company letterhead
  • a security interest - traders' Bill of Sale

You need to appoint a receiver and manager. Once this happens, we’ll only deal with the appointed receivers and managers, not the approved pharmacist.

A registered pharmacist will be authorised by the receivers and managers to dispense PBS medicines. We may put a hold on the approved pharmacists' payments, if requested by the appointed receivers and managers.

Notify your relevant state or territory regulatory authority that your pharmacy is in receivership.

Death of an approved PBS pharmacist

If an approved pharmacist dies you must tell us. A deceased estate is administered under section 91 of the National Health Act 1953

You must tell us because this affects the:

  • PBS pharmacy approval; and
  • authority allowing another pharmacist to claim supplies on their behalf

The deceased’s pharmacy may operate for a temporary period by:

  • a legal personal representative
  • an executor, or
  • an administrator whose duty it is to settle the affairs of the deceased

A legal personal representative may apply to operate the pharmacy for a temporary period. This is until the granting of probate or letters of administration. If there are multiple executors in the will, any can apply.

You need to give us the following:

We also need evidence of the identity of the applicant. This can be a certified copy of a document that includes the applicant’s photograph and signature, such as a:

  • driver’s licence
  • passport, or
  • photo ID card

Or you can give us a certified copy of a document that includes the applicant’s signature, and a statutory declaration. The statutory declaration must be signed by the applicant and indicate the applicant is the person named in the document.

You need to submit an Application for permission to carry on business as a pharmacist form:

  • once the granting of probate or letters of administration, or
  • if the deceased approved pharmacist had a will

You also need to give us 1 of the following:

  • a certified copy of the deceased approved pharmacist's will
  • a letter of probate, or
  • a statutory declaration signed by the applicant

The statutory declaration must indicate to the best of the applicant’ knowledge, the will is the last will and testament of the deceased approved pharmacist.

If the deceased approved pharmacist didn’t have a will, you must give us both:

  • a certified copy of the application, and
  • a signed statutory declaration

The statutory declaration must indicate the applicant is unaware of any reason why the application for letter of administration would be refused.

Section 91 of the Act may not apply. If the deceased pharmacist had a partnership agreement or contract in place that deals with the pharmacy business, it doesn’t.

The partners must provide:

  • a certified copy of the deceased approved pharmacist death certificate, and
  • a copy of the partnership agreement

They must also give us the:

And all of the following forms:

You may also need to complete some other forms depending on your circumstances.

Authority for authorised pharmacist

You may need to complete the Authority for authorised pharmacists to sign claim forms on behalf of Approved Pharmacists form.

Expanding or contracting approved pharmacy premises

You may need to complete the Applying for Approval to Supply Pharmaceutical Benefits at a Particular Premises form.

Changing the trading name of the pharmacy

You may need to complete the Change of pharmacy trading name form.

Death of an approved PBS pharmacist

You may need to complete the:

Page last updated: 5 July 2018