New or relocating pharmacy

This site provides information about the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority and the pharmacy location rules, for applications to establish a new pharmacy, or relocate an existing pharmacy, approved to supply pharmaceutical benefits.

Page last updated: 24 June 2021

New or Relocating pharmacy
Pharmacy Location Rules
Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA)
ACPA Meeting Dates
Notification of ACPA meeting outcomes
ACPA recommends that an application be approved
ACPA recommends that an application not be approved
ACPA defers making a recommendation on an application
Surrounding pharmacists who provided comments on an application
How do I contact the ACPA?
Form – Privacy Note

New or Relocating pharmacy

Pharmacists must apply to the Secretary of the Department of Health under section 90 of the National Health Act 1953 (Act) to seek approval to:

  • supply Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines at new pharmacy premises; or
  • relocate an existing pharmacy that is approved to supply PBS medicines to other premises.

Applications are considered by the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA) which makes a recommendation to the Secretary. Before applying please see the:

To apply for approval to establish a new pharmacy, or to relocate an existing pharmacy, the pharmacist will need to:

If an application is recommended, prior to delegate approval, the applicant will need to provide evidence that the requirements of the relevant state or territory regulatory authority to operate a pharmacy business at the proposed premises, have been met.

Pharmacy Location Rules

The Rules relate to the establishment of a new pharmacy or the relocation of an existing pharmacy which has approval to provide PBS medicines under section 90 of the Act.

The Rules are legislated under the National Health (Australian Community Pharmacy Authority Rules) Determination 2018 made under section 99L of the Act.

The Rules set out location-based criteria which must be met in order for the ACPA to recommend approval of a pharmacist. The ACPA cannot override the requirements of the Rules and can only recommend that an application be approved if it is satisfied that all of the requirements of the item, under which the application was made, have been met.

The Rules remain consistent with the overall objective of the National Medicines Policy to improve the health outcomes of all Australians through access to and quality use of medicines.

Applicants wishing to lodge an application for consideration under the Rules, are required to lodge the application with the Department of Health, via the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal.

Before lodging an application, please consult the Pharmacy Location Rules – Applicant’s Handbook which provides you with information you will need to prepare an application.


Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA)

The ACPA is an independent statutory authority established under section 99J of the Act.

The ACPA has six part-time members, five of whom are appointed by the Minister and one appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Health (Secretary).

The ACPA considers applications for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits under section 90 of the Act and makes recommendations to delegated officers as to whether or not an application should be approved.

In making its recommendation to the Secretary’s delegate, the ACPA must comply with the requirements specified in the Rules as determined by the Minister. The ACPA can only make a recommendation that an application be approved if it finds that all of the relevant requirements of the Rules are met.

Applications for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits under section 90 of the Act
The Pharmacy Location Rules – Applicant’s Handbook provides pharmacists with comprehensive information about:
    • the Rules and the ACPA;
    • the application process including the requirements that must be satisfied and the types of information that must be included in an application; and
    • seeking further information or assistance.
It is up to the applicant to select the item which best suits their situation as each item has different requirements. Applicants must satisfy all of the requirements for a particular item if they are to receive a recommendation for approval from the ACPA.

Applications and associated forms must be lodged via the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal. Further information is available from the Department of Health website at How to apply to become a PBS approved supplier – information for pharmacists. If you require further assistance, please call PBS Approved Suppliers on 1800 316 389.

ACPA Meeting dates

The ACPA meeting dates for 2021, and the corresponding application lodgement timeframes for complete applications to be received by the Department of Health, are outlined in the table below.

Please note these dates are subject to change.

Table current as at 28 January 2021

ACPA Meeting date Timeframe to lodge an Application Timeframe to lodge an Application
Friday From To
05 February 2021 Tuesday 10 November 2020 Thursday 17 December 2020
12 March 2021 Friday 18 December 2020 Thursday 11 February 2021
16 April 2021 Friday 12 February 2021 Thursday 18 March 2021
21 May 2021 Friday 19 March 2021 Thursday 22 April 2021
25 June 2021 Friday 23 April 2021 Thursday 27 May 2021
30 July 2021 Friday 28 May 2021 Thursday 01 July 2021
03 September 2021 Friday 02 July 2021 Thursday 05 August 2021
08 October 2021 Friday 06 August 2021 Thursday 09 September 2021
12 November 2021 Friday 10 September 2021 Thursday 14 October 2021
10 December 2021 Friday 15 October 2021 Thursday 18 November 2021
04 February 2022 Friday 19 November 2021 Thursday 16 December 2021

Note: Application lodgement timeframes are to ensure that the Department of Health and the ACPA Secretariat have sufficient time to process and register applications (subject to the application being valid), undertake consultation with third parties where relevant and for the ACPA to give proper consideration of applications.

Notification of ACPA meeting outcomes

Meeting outcomes will be published on the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal within five working days after a meeting.

The Secretary’s delegate in the Department of Health will be provided with the decisions of the Authority where a recommendation to approve or not approve an application has been made.

ACPA recommends that an application be approved

If the recommendation by the Authority is to approve an application, the relevant delegate in the Department of Health is responsible for granting the approval. However, the delegate may also reject the application even if approval has been recommended by the ACPA.

Once a recommendation to approve an application has been published on the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal, the Department of Health will write to recommended applicants to advise of the decision and outline the requirements for obtaining approval.

ACPA recommends that an application not be approved

If the ACPA has made a decision to recommend that an application not be approved, it will endeavour to inform the applicant of the decision, including the reason(s) for the decision and the rights of review, within ten working days after the meeting.

ACPA defers making a recommendation on an application

If the ACPA defers consideration of the application to the next meeting, the Secretariat will endeavour to advise the applicant of the reasons for the deferral within five working days after the meeting and the status ‘Deferred’ will be displayed on the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal.

Surrounding pharmacists who provided comments on an application

The ACPA will endeavour to advise the outcome of an application to any pharmacist/s who provided comments to the ACPA, as soon as practicable, but generally no sooner than ten working days after a meeting. Please note that the ACPA does not advise surrounding pharmacists of the meeting outcome if the ACPA has deferred making a recommendation.

How do I contact the ACPA?

For any queries, please email details of your enquiry to acpamail@health.gov.au or call the PBS Approved Suppliers Information Line on 1800 316 389.

Form - Privacy Note

The Australian Government Department of Health (the Department) is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).

The Department is collecting personal information that you provide in the relevant Form for the purposes of assessing the application or processing the notification (as the case may be). The collection of the personal information is authorised under the National Health Act 1953 (Cth) and delegated legislation under that Act.

For further information, please visit Privacy and your personal information.