Updated Guidelines of Responsibilities of Proprietor Pharmacists


The Pharmacy Board of Australia (‘Board’) released updated guidelines on 2 September 2015. The updated Guidelines for Proprietor Pharmacists (‘Guidelines’) highlight current legislative requirements in connection with registration, and guidance on the responsibilities of pharmacists. The revised Guideline will take effect from 7 December 2015.

Who needs to comply with the Guidelines?

The Guidelines apply to all registered pharmacists who own a pecuniary or proprietary interest in a pharmacy business, as well as to pharmacists who hold a position of authority in a corporate structure or who act as a trustee of a trust in a corporate structure. A proprietary or pecuniary interest means a legal or beneficial interest and includes a proprietary interest as a sole practitioner, partner, director, member or shareholder of a company and as a trustee or beneficiary of a trust.

If a pharmacist chooses not to comply with the Guidelines, their conduct may be referred to the Board for action under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law in each state and territory (‘National Law’) pursuant to section 41 of the National Law, which states amongst other things that the use of registration standards, codes or guidelines may be used in disciplinary proceedings as evidence of what constitutes professional conduct.

The Guidelines

The Guidelines set out a guide on pharmacist’s professional responsibilities to ensure the delivery of services to the public is to a high professional standard. The key guidelines are as follows:

  • The proprietor pharmacist must maintain an active interest in how the pharmacy business operates. For example, if the proprietor is not the pharmacist in charge of the pharmacy, the proprietor must maintain an active interest in how the practice of the pharmacy is being conducted. This is to ensure compliance with rules and regulations.
  • The proprietor pharmacist must not delegate their professional obligations. This is the case, even if they are not the pharmacist who is regularly in charge or present at the pharmacy.
  • The proprietor pharmacist must ensure that the pharmacy is conducted properly. To this effect, pharmacy proprietors must ensure the following:
  • employee pharmacists comply with registration standards and guidelines;
  • compliance with any state or territory legislation regarding facilities and equipment required for services delivered at the pharmacy;
  • appropriate risk management procedures are in place for the operation of the pharmacy;
  • confidential patient information is appropriately stored and accessed;
  • they have an awareness and understanding of the range of goods sold and services provided at the pharmacy;
  • the pharmacy is suitably resourced, for example, staff members are suitably trained and appropriately supervised to provide services;
  • they have an awareness of and are responsible for all services being provided in the pharmacy;
  • business procedures, policies and protocols are developed, implemented and routinely followed for all services delivered at the pharmacy; and
  • advertising of services and/or products sold at the pharmacy are carried out in accordance with applicable legislation and guidelines.

To ensure compliance with the Guidelines and fulfilment of the proprietor’s responsibilities outlined above, proprietors are encouraged to conduct regular on-site visits and attendance at staff meetings to ensure that the proprietor is able to fulfill their responsibilities.