Ministerial Discretion on Pharmacy Location

The National Health Act 1953 (Sections 90A-90E) provides the Minister for Health with a discretionary power to approve a pharmacist to supply Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines at particular premises. Application forms and Guidelines for Ministerial Discretion can be downloaded from this website. Further information on the discretionary power is provided below.

Page last updated: 13 May 2016

The Minister for Health has a discretionary power to approve a pharmacist to supply pharmaceutical benefits at particular premises.

The purpose of the discretionary power is to address unintended consequences of the Pharmacy Location Rules. It enables the Minister to intervene to approve a pharmacist when unique circumstances arise that are not expressly provided for by the Pharmacy Location Rules.

This discretionary power is only available to a pharmacist who has made an application for approval, and their application was not approved because it did not meet the requirements of the Pharmacy Location Rules.

To consider a request for the exercise of Ministerial Discretion, the Minister must be satisfied that:

  1. the decision not to approve the pharmacist will result in a community being left without reasonable access to the supply of pharmaceutical benefits by an approved pharmacist; and
  2. it is in the public interest to approve the pharmacist.

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 at the address below:

Ministerial Discretion
Pharmacy Approvals Section
Pharmaceutical Access Branch
Department of Health
MDP 1011, GPO 9848
CANBERRA ACT 2601

If you have any questions, please contact us on:
Email: 90Apharmacy@health.gov.au
Phone: (02) 6289 2425

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.