The Pharmacy Council of NSW has announced changes to the pharmacy application approval process, effective immediately.  From 31 March 2020:

Ownership application dates are no longer

Complete and compliant applications will not be referred to a formal meeting of the Pharmacy Council.  Applicants can now lodge their applications at any time without having regard to any cut off dates or meeting dates. 

The majority of applications will be approved by the Council within 10 business days.  Applicants should use that timeframe as a guide to determine the appropriate time to lodge their application.  However, we always recommend that the application be lodged as early as possible so as to avoid any delays.  That is particularly so given the Federal Department of Health will require evidence of State approval before activating the new PBS approval number.

Application forms have been updated

The updated forms are available on the Council’s website. Applicants are encouraged to refer to The Guide (also available on the website) for assistance with completing the forms.  By following the Guide, applicants can be confident that their application is correct which will minimise any delays after the application is lodged.

Applications must be submitted electronically

Applicants are required to submit their application form electronically. Once submitted and processed, the Council will provide the applicant with access to a secure portal to upload the supporting documents for the application. This means that the lodgement process is now a two-step process. Supporting documents should not be provided at the initial stage (ie. step one). Those documents should only be provided once access to the secure portal has been granted.

When providing the supporting documents, applicants should ensure that they are named appropriately. This will assist the Council in processing the application and to identify whether any required documentation is missing.
The Council has indicated that the requirement for applications to be lodged electronically is a measure that has been introduced as a result of the current COVID-19 situation. It is not clear whether the Council will revert to requiring hard copy applications to be submitted by post once the crisis has ended. Watch this space!

New requirements for premises plans

The Council has introduced new requirements for floor plans and locational plans which must be submitted as part of any application for a new, relocated or resized premises. Applicants should carefully consider the requirements and ensure that their plans are compliant.  Issues with plans will inevitably delay the approval of the application.

When the pharmacy premises is inspected by a Council Inspector, the Inspector will conduct the inspection with reference to the plans submitted as part of the application. Further, it is important  that the address and layout of the premises is consistent on all plans and supporting documents submitted as part of the application.

Application fees have increased

The fees payable for premises applications, registrations of financial interests and annual renewals of registrations of pharmacy premises have all increased. Information contained in The Guide will assist applicants to determine the fee payable for their application.

Applicants are encouraged to consult the Guide or Council website to determine the correct application fee. Applicants should not rely on old information, such as old application forms or old payment receipts, to determine the fee payable for their application.

If you have any queries about applications to the Pharmacy Council of New South Wales, please contact Stoddart Legal on (07) 3370 0200.

This article is intended to be for general information only. It does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish a relationship of client and lawyer. Specific circumstances or changes in law may vary the accuracy or applicability of the information published. We recommend seeking specific legal advice particular to your circumstances before taking any action, or refraining from taking any action, on any issue dealt with in this article.