Pharmacy Location Rules (the Rules) and the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA)

This site provides information about the Rules and the ACPA.

Page last updated: 12 November 2019

Pharmacy Location Rules

The Rules relate to the establishment of a new pharmacy or the relocation of an existing pharmacy which has approval to provide PBS medicines under section 90 of the National Health Act 1953 (the Act).

Negotiations between the Department of Health and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia resulted in amendments to the Rules, which apply to applications made after 3 October 2018. Frequently Asked Questions are available to summarise some of the amendments.

The amended Rules are legislated under the National Health (Australian Community Pharmacy Authority Rules) Determination 2018 made under section 99L of the Act.

The Rules set out location-based criteria which must be met in order for the ACPA to recommend approval of a pharmacist. The ACPA cannot override the requirements of the Rules and can only recommend that an application be approved if it is satisfied that all of the requirements of the item, under which the application was made, have been met.

The Rules remain consistent with the overall objective of the National Medicines Policy to improve the health outcomes of all Australians through access to and quality use of medicines.

Applicants wishing to lodge an application for consideration under the Rules, are required to lodge the application with the Department of Health, via the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal using an AUSkey.

Before lodging an application, please consult the Pharmacy Location Rules – Applicant’s Handbook which provides you with information you will need to prepare an application.

Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA)

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

The ACPA has six part-time members, five of whom are appointed by the Minister and one appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Health (the Secretary).

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

In making its recommendation to the Secretary’s delegate, the ACPA must comply with the requirements specified in the Rules as determined by the Minister. The ACPA can only make a recommendation that an application be approved if it finds that all of the relevant requirements of the Rules are met.

Applications for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits under section 90 of the National Health Act 1953

The Pharmacy Location Rules – Applicant’s Handbook provides pharmacists with comprehensive information about:

    • the Rules and the ACPA;
    • the application process including the requirements that must be satisfied and the types of information that must be included in an application; and
    • seeking further information or assistance.
It is up to the applicant to select the item which best suits their situation as each item has different requirements. Applicants must satisfy all of the requirements for a particular item if they are to receive a recommendation for approval from the ACPA.

Applications and associated forms must be lodged via the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal. Further information is available from the Department of Health website at How to apply to become a PBS approved supplier – information for pharmacists. If you require further assistance, please call PBS Approved Suppliers on 1800 316 389.

Please note: If you need to send any hard copies of documentation, it is advisable for an applicant to retain the original documentation and provide copies with the application.

ACPA Meeting dates

The ACPA meeting dates for the remainder of 2019 and 2020, and the corresponding application lodgement timeframes for complete applications to be received by the Department of Health, are outlined in the table below.

Please note these dates are subject to change.

(Table current as at 5 November 2019)
ACPA Meeting date
Timeframe to lodge an Application
Timeframe to lodge an Application
Friday
From
To
8 November 2019Tuesday 3 September 2019Tuesday 8 October 2019
13 December 2019Wednesday 9 October 2019Monday 11 November 2019
31 January 2020Tuesday 12 November 2019Monday 16 December 2019
06 March 2020Tuesday 17 December 2019Monday 3 February 2020
17 April 2020Tuesday 4 February 2020Tuesday 10 March 2020
22 May 2020Wednesday 11 March 2020Monday 20 April 2020
26 June 2020Tuesday 21 April 2020Monday 25 May 2020
31 July 2020Tuesday 26 May 2020Monday 29 June 2020
04 September 2020Tuesday 30 June 2020Monday 03 August 2020
09 October 2020Tuesday 4 August 2020Monday 07 September 2020
13 November 2020Tuesday 08 September 2020Monday 12 October 2020
11 December 2020Tuesday 13 October 2020Monday 09 November 2020
29 January 2021Tuesday 10 November 2020Monday 14 December 2020
Note: Application lodgement timeframes are to ensure that the Department of Health and the ACPA Secretariat have sufficient time to process and register applications (subject to the application being complete), undertake consultation with third parties where relevant and for the ACPA to give proper consideration of applications.

Notification of ACPA Recommendations

The ACPA Secretariat will endeavour to advise applicants of the outcome of their application, by email, on the next working day after the meeting.

More detailed correspondence will follow as outlined below:

ACPA recommends that an application be approved

If the ACPA has made a decision to recommend that an application be approved, in most cases the Secretary’s delegate will be advised of the decision the next working day after the meeting.

Note: If the recommendation by the ACPA is to approve the application, the relevant delegate in the Department of Health is responsible for granting the approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits. However, the delegate may also reject the application even if approval has been recommended by the ACPA.

ACPA recommends that an application not be approved

If the ACPA has made a decision to recommend that an application not be approved, it will endeavour to inform the applicant of the decision, including the reason(s) for the decision and the rights of review, within ten working days after the meeting.

ACPA defers making a recommendation on an application

If the ACPA defers consideration of the application to the next meeting, the Secretariat will endeavour to advise the applicant of the reasons for the deferral within five working days after the meeting.

Surrounding pharmacists who provided comments on an application

The ACPA will endeavour to advise the outcome of an application to any pharmacist/s who provided comments to the ACPA, as soon as practicable, but generally no sooner than ten working days after a meeting. Please note that the ACPA does not advise surrounding pharmacists of the meeting outcome if the ACPA has deferred making a recommendation.

How do I contact the ACPA?

For any queries, please email details of your enquiry to pbsapprovedsuppliers@health.gov.au or call PBS Approved Suppliers on 1800 316 389.