Ministerial Discretion on Pharmacy Location
The National Health Act 1953 (Sections 90A-90E) provides the Minister for Health and Ageing with a discretionary power to approve pharmacists to supply pharmaceutical benefits. From 1 July 2006, pharmacists can make a request to the Minister for the exercise of this discretionary power. Application forms and Guidelines for Ministerial Discretion can be downloaded from this website. Further information on the discretionary power is provided below.
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As part of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement between the Australian Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, it was agreed that the Minister for Health and Ageing should have a discretionary power to approve pharmacists to supply pharmaceutical benefits.
The purpose of the discretionary power is to address unintended consequences of the Pharmacy Location Rules. It will enable the Minister to intervene to approve a pharmacy when unique circumstances arise that are not expressly provided for by the Pharmacy Location Rules.
This discretionary power is only available to pharmacists who have made an application for a section 90 approval on or after 1 July 2006, and their application has not been recommended for approval by ACPA because they have not met the requirements of the Pharmacy Location Rules.
To consider a request for the exercise of Ministerial Discretion, the Minister must be satisfied that:
- the decision not to approve the pharmacist will result in a community being without reasonable access to the supply of pharmaceutical benefits by an approved pharmacist; and
- approval is in the public interest.
Further information on the discretionary power is available in the Guidelines for Ministerial Discretion. Pharmacists intending to make a request to the Minister should consult the Guidelines for instructions on preparing and submitting an application. Application forms and Guidelines can be downloaded from this web site, or can be obtained from the Department of Health and Ageing at the address below:
Pharmacy Location Rules Section
Community Pharmacy Branch
Department of Health and Ageing
MDP 901, GPO 9848
CANBERRA ACT 2601
If you have any questions, please contact us on:
Phone: (02) 6289 2425
Facsimile: (02) 6289 2365
A list of Frequently Asked Questions on the Ministerial Discretionary power is available to pharmacists. Responses to questions will be updated on the site and pharmacists should also consult this for further information.