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It may come as a surprise to many people, but Australia’s pharmacy sector is one of the most heavily regulated parts of our economy. Aside from the obvious need to ensure that drugs are dispensed safely by qualified pharmacists, our regulatory framework also includes:

  • Ownership rules: governing who is permitted to own a pharmacy. These vary state by state, and are regulated by each State’s Pharmacy Board or Council. The overall rationale behind these rules is to ensure that, except in limited circumstances, only pharmacists can own a pharmacy.  
  • Ownership limitations: Entrepreneurial pharmacists also have to navigate Australia’s ownership limitations. These laws also vary from state to state, and limit the number of pharmacies that an individual pharmacist can own. These laws are aimed at ensuring that no single pharmacist owns so many pharmacies that they are spread too thin.
  • Location rules: our ‘community ’ model sets out a series of rules governing where pharmacies can be established. In addition to the ordinary complexities of locating a business, pharmacists also have to navigate these restrictions when trying to find a suitable premises for their business.

We represent some of Australia’s most well recognised brands in the sector, making the Lawcrest team experts in the field. Lawcrest Partner, Richard Pedley, has run numerous successful cases involving the application of the ownership and relocation rules. In 2019, Richard acted in the first successful application to overturn a discretionary decision by a Minister to grant approval to operate a pharmacy.

If you are buying, selling, relocating or seeking to open a new pharmacy please give us a call to speak to a pharmacy law expert.