Expansion of a pharmacy may take place where the floor size of a pharmacy is increased, for example by expanding the pharmacy into adjacent premises. An example of contraction of a pharmacy would be where the floor size of a pharmacy decreases, perhaps because part of the pharmacy is surrendered back to a landlord, or where part of the pharmacy is sub-let to a sub-tenant (for example, a health practitioner).
It is common for pharmacists to overlook the requirement in the Pharmacy Location Rules (as legislated by the National Health (Australian Community Pharmacy Authority Rules) Determination 2011) for the approval of the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA) relating to expansion or contraction of a pharmacy.
Rule 121 of the Pharmacy Location Rules requires that an application for expansion or contraction must meet the following criteria:
- the application is for an expansion or contraction of pharmacy premises, in which the proposed premises will occupy any of the space occupied by the premises.
The effect of this requirement is that an application for expansion of a pharmacy cannot be used where there is effectively a relocation of the pharmacy premises.
In addition to the specific criteria of Rule 121, a range of other general requirements of the Pharmacy Location Rules must also be met, including:
- that the proposed premises are not already approved premises
- the applicant has the legal right to occupy the proposed premises
- the proposed premises could be used for the purpose of operating a pharmacy which would be accessible by the public
- the applicant will be ready to operate a pharmacy at the proposed premises within six months
- the proposed premises are not directly accessible by the public from within a supermarket.
The Pharmacy Location Rules are prescriptive regarding the evidence which must be provided in order to satisfy the ACPA about these matters.
Pharmacists may also be required to seek the consent of the pharmacy regulatory authority in their particular State or Territory for any expansion or contraction of his or her pharmacy. For example, in New South Wales, an application must be made to the Pharmacy Council of New South Wales for approval relating to the expansion/contraction at least fourteen days before the intended change and all documentation must be received by the lodgement date for the application to be considered at the next Council Meeting.
Pharmacists should also consider whether the proposals to expand or contract the pharmacy require any other consents, such as the consent of the current landlord where part of the premises are to be sub-let thereby giving rise to a contraction in the size of the pharmacy premises.
For assistance with applications for approvals for expansion or contraction of pharmacies, or any other issue concerning the Pharmacy Location Rules, please contact Mark Fitzgerald (Melbourne) on 03 9810 6767or Georgina Odell (Sydney) on 02 9018 9975.