Information for pharmacists and those who want to get a new pharmacy, relocate a pharmacy or manage a pharmacy's 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 meets once a month and makes a recommendation to us. Before you apply you should go to the Department of Health website and read the:
- Pharmacy Location Rules
- rules and the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority
- Pharmacy Location Rules - Applicant's Handbook
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:
- submit the Applying for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits at a particular premises application form
- get approval from the relevant state or territory regulatory authority to operate a pharmacy business at a specific premises
- have approval and be able to supply PBS medicines to the public from the premises
Relocate an existing pharmacy
You must get approval to relocate your pharmacy to claim for PBS medicines. To do this you must:
- determine which Pharmacy Location Rule on the Department of Health website is most appropriate to your circumstances
- submit an Applying for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits at a particular premises application form and include the required documentation
- get relevant state or territory regulatory authority to operate a pharmacy business at the proposed relocated premises
- request in writing for your approval to be deactivated if you’ve vacated the approved premises
Read more about the deactivation guidelines.
You can also use your application 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:
- Notification of bank account details for an approved community pharmacy form
- Notification of Australian Business Number and reference identification for tax treatment purposes and Recipient Created Tax Invoice agreement form
- Online claiming for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme - Application and terms and conditions form
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 can’t claim payment for the supply of a PBS medicine at or from unapproved premises, even if those premises get approval later. If you do, you’ll have to pay back 100% of the claims you made 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
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 premises
You must get approval to expand or reduce the size of your pharmacy premises. To do this you must:
- submit an Applying for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits at a particular premises form
- provide copies of the current and proposed plans of the premises
- notify your relevant state or territory regulatory authority that you have resized your pharmacy premises
You must get approval to sell or transfer ownership of your pharmacy. To do this you must:
- submit an Applying for approval change of ownership of a pharmacy (not involving relocation) form
- notify your relevant state or territory regulatory authority that you have sold or transferred your pharmacy
If approved, we’ll issue a new pharmacy approval number and cancel the previous owner's approval number. 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 approval, we may cancel your pharmacy approval.
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, you’ll need to tell your state or territory regulatory authority that your pharmacy is temporarily closed.
To reopen your pharmacy, first request that we reactivate your pharmacy approval. Then tell your state or territory regulatory authority that your pharmacy has reopened.
Pharmacy affected by disaster
If your pharmacy can’t operate due to disaster, you can apply for permission to supply PBS medicines at alternative premises for a temporary period.
To apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include details of the disaster and the alternative premises. You can also call the Department of Health on 02 6289 2425.
Receivership of an individual
We don’t consider an approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits, granted under section 90 of the National Health Act 1953, to be property. We consider it as a personal or statutory interest that belongs to the pharmacist we granted it to.
Because of this, we only deal with the approved pharmacist in matters relating to section 90 approval. We can’t discuss any details with administrators.
We may decide to cancel the approval if the approved pharmacist stops operating from the approved premises.
Receivership of an incorporated entity
When a PBS approved pharmacist of an incorporated entity 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 - trader's Bill of Sale
You need to appoint a receiver and manager. Once this happens, we’ll only deal with the appointed receivers and managers of the incorporated entity, 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 pharmacist's payments, if the appointed receivers and managers have asked us to do this.
Notify your 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:
- an Application for permission to carry on business as a pharmacist form, or
- an Application for permission to carry on business as a pharmacist by the legal personal representative of a deceased approved pharmacist form
- evidence the applicant is, or is likely to become, the legal personal representative, and
- a certified copy of the death certificate
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 have come through, 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 that, to the best of the applicant’s 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 does not apply if the deceased pharmacist had a partnership agreement or contract in place that deals with the pharmacy business.
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:
- Applying for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits at a particular premises form, or
- Applying for approval change of ownership of a pharmacy (not involving relocation) form
And all of the following forms:
- Notification of bank account details for an Approved community pharmacy form
- Notification of Australian Business Number and reference identification for tax treatment purposes and Recipient Created Tax Invoice agreement form, and
- Online claiming for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme - Application and terms and conditions form
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.