Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA)
This site provides information about the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA) and the pharmacy location rules.
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Update for applicants and agents – May 2013
Important information for applicant and agents on:
- lodgement of applications to establish a new pharmacy or relocate an existing pharmacy;
- changes to types of evidence accepted by the ACPA;
- common issues with applications; and
- contacting the Secretariat
is available by visiting the News page.
Pharmacy Location RulesThe Pharmacy Location Rules (the Rules) are a fundamental component of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement (the Fifth Agreement) between the Commonwealth of Australia (as represented by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild). This Agreement commenced on 1 July 2010 and terminates on 30 June 2015.
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).
An independent review of the Rules was conducted under the terms of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement, and the final report is available on this website. Following the review and further consultation with key stakeholders, the amendments to the Rules were agreed by the Department and the Guild as required under the Fifth Agreement.
The Minister for Health and Ageing (the Minister) approved the amendments by signing the National Health (Australian Community Pharmacy Authority Rules) Determination 2011 made under section 99L of the Act, commonly referred to as the Pharmacy Location Rules (the Rules).
The amendments, which took effect on 18 October 2011, are intended to enhance and simplify the Rules and the application process, whilst continuing to encourage pharmacies to locate in areas of community need.
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.
The Rules set out location-based criteria which must be met in order for the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (the ACPA) to recommend approval of a pharmacist. The ACPA cannot override the requirements of the Rules. It can only recommend that an application be approved if it is satisfied that all of the requirements of the Rule, under which the application was made, have been met. Similarly, the Authority is unable to recommend that an application be approved if it is not satisfied that each of the requirements have been met.
All applications are to be lodged through the Department of Human Services (Medicare) and require the use of the application form available on the Department of Human Services (Medicare) website. Applicants wishing to lodge an application for consideration under the amended Rules should consult the Pharmacy Location Rules – Applicant’s Handbook,.
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 to the Department of Health and Ageing (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.
Note: The Secretary’s responsibilities concerning the approval of pharmacists have been conferred on the Chief Executive Medicare, who has delegated these powers to certain officers in the Department of Human Services (Medicare).
In making its recommendation to the Secretary’s delegate in the Department of Human Services (Medicare), the ACPA must comply with the requirements specified in the Determination made by the Minister.
The Department of Health and Ageing provides secretariat services to the ACPA. The ACPA Secretariat also assists applicants with enquiries about the Rules, and serves as the liaison between pharmacists and the ACPA.
Contact details are as follows:
Australian Community Pharmacy Authority Secretariat
Department of Health and Ageing
GPO Box 9848 (MDP 953)
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Telephone: 02 6289 2419
Facsmile: 02 6289 2365
Email the ACPA
Applications for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits under section 90 of the National Health Act 1953 Top of page
The Pharmacy Location Rules – Applicant’s Handbook, v1.0, 18 October 2011 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.
Applications for Rules 125 (short distance relocation more than 1km), 126 (long distance relocation), and 127 (relocation to a population growth area) must have been made before Monday 16 April 2012 in order to satisfy the time requirement for these Rules. Applications under Rules 125, 126 or 127 made after that time will be unable to satisfy the time requirement that an application made under these Rules must have been made before 16 April 2012.
A completed application form must be lodged with the Department of Human Services (Medicare), together with all of the supporting documents before the deadline for the corresponding ACPA meeting. The Department of Human Services (Medicare) will register applications before forwarding them to the ACPA secretariat in the Department of Health and Ageing.
During May 2013, the Department of Human Services (Medicare) will make an administrative change to the lodgement process for applications for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits under section 90 of the Act. Complete applications should be lodged by email to the NSW PBS Approvals Clerk.
Applications lodged to the Department of Human Services (Medicare) can not exceed 100 Mb of the email including all attachments. For more information contact a Pharmacy Program Officer on 132 290.
Please note: It is advisable for an applicant to retain the original documentation and provide copies with the application as no paperwork will be returned.
ACPA Meeting dates
The ACPA meeting dates for 2013, and the corresponding application lodgement timeframes for complete applications to be received by the Department of Human Services (Medicare) are outlined in the table below.
Please note these dates are subject to change.
(Table current as at 16 April 2013)
|ACPA Meeting date||Timeframe to lodge an Application with the Department of Human Services (Medicare)||Timeframe to lodge an Application with the Department of Human Services (Medicare)|
|25 January 2013||Tuesday 30 October 2012||Monday 17 December 2012|
|22 February 2013||Tuesday 18 December 2012||Monday 21 January 2013|
|22 March 2013||Tuesday 22 January 2013||Monday 11 February 2013|
|19 April 2013||Tuesday 12 February 2013||Monday 11 March 2013|
|24 May 2013||Tuesday 12 March 2013||Monday 15 April 2013|
|28 June 2013||Tuesday 16 April 2013||Monday 20 May 2013|
|26 July 2013||Tuesday 21 May 2013||Monday 17 June 2013|
|30 August 2013||Tuesday 18 June 2013||Monday 22 July 2013|
|27 September 2013||Tuesday 23 July 2013||Monday 19 August 2013|
|1 November 2013||Tuesday 20 August 2013||Monday 23 September 2013|
|6 December 2013||Tuesday 24 September 2013||Monday 28 October 2013|
|24 January 2014||Tuesday 29 October 2013||Monday 16 December 2013|
Note: Application lodgement timeframes are to ensure that the Department of Human Services (Medicare) and the ACPA Secretariat have sufficient time to process and register applications, undertake consultation with third parties and for the ACPA to give proper consideration of applications.
The ACPA Secretariat will endeavour to advise applicants and surrounding pharmacists of decisions within the following timeframes:
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 in the Department of Human Services (Medicare) will be advised of the decision in writing 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 Human Services (Medicare) is responsible for granting the approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits. Applicants should contact a Pharmacy Program Officer in the Department of Human Services (Medicare) by phoning 132 290 to discuss the next steps in the process.
ACPA defers making a recommendation on an application
If the ACPA has made a decision to defer consideration of the application to the next meeting, the Secretariat will endeavour to advise the applicant of the decision within three to five working days after the meeting.
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 five to ten 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, within ten working days after a meeting.
How do I contact the ACPA?The ACPA Secretariat can be contacted by phoning (02) 6289 2419 and leaving your name, phone number and a brief message about your inquiry. If you are phoning about your application, please quote your application reference number when leaving your message.
A member of the Secretariat will return your call as soon as possible. Please note that it is not always possible for the Secretariat to return calls on the same business day, but please be assured that your call will returned as soon as possible.
Alternatively, send an email to the APCA, fax (02) 6289 2365 or write to the ACPA at the Department of Health and Ageing, MDP 953, GPO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601. Your enquiry will be answered as soon as practicable.
The Minister for Health has a discretionary power to approve pharmacies in unusual circumstances where the application of the location rules results in a community being left without reasonable access to the supply of pharmaceutical benefits by an approved pharmacist, and approval of the pharmacy is in the public interest. Further information on the Minister’s discretionary power is available at the Ministerial Discretion on Pharmacy Location home page.
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