Pharmacy Location Rules – Don’t make this mistake

by | Sep 12, 2017 | Pharmacy Law

Under section 90 of the National Health Act (Act), the Secretary of the Department of Health has the power to approve or reject a registered pharmacist’s application to supply pharmaceutical benefits at particular premises.

Just recently the Federal Court of Australia set aside a pharmacist’s approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits through a pharmacy he sought to establish in a shopping centre.

Ross Darnell, through his company Slopen Main Pty Ltd, was granted approval to operate a pharmacy at the small Cove Hill Shopping Centre in Bridgewater near Hobart.

The Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA) had no apparent reason to reject his application. According to the fraudulent pharmacist’s application, the proposed pharmacy was not less than 500 metres away (measured by straight line) from an existing pharmacy. Furthermore, in his application, the pharmacist claimed that the shopping centre had 15 retail shops.

What the ACPA did not know was that the proposed pharmacy premises were actually a demountable in the shopping centre car park. Furthermore, the ACPA was not made aware that the shopping centre had, in fact, less than the 15 retail shops the pharmacist claimed it had.

The pharmacist’s plan was to gain approval at the site and then apply for ACPA approval to relocate into the shopping centre’s main building. In fact, the pharmacist already had a ten year lease, albeit unsigned.

Such subsequent application would have likely been granted had the pharmacist not been caught out beforehand by two of his competitors, one of whom was located less than 500 metres from the proposed pharmacy site, and who both complained to the ACPA resulting in the ACPA conducting an investigation and bringing a claim against the fraudulent pharmacist.

So what is the process?

Under section 90 of the National Health Act (Act), the Secretary of the Department of Health has the power to approve or reject a registered pharmacist’s application to supply pharmaceutical benefits at particular premises.

The ACPA is an independent statutory authority established under section 99J of the Act.

The ACPA considers applications for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits under section 90 of the Act on behalf of the Secretary and makes recommendations to delegated officers as to whether or not an application should be approved.

The pharmacy location rules (Rules) set out the location-specific criteria that registered pharmacists must meet to obtain the Secretary’s approval. The ACPA cannot override the requirements of the