Welcome to the Pharmacy Board of Australia’s final newsletter for 2022. Read our updates about the Board’s decision to develop accreditation standards for pharmacist prescribing, our ongoing engagement with states and territories about emerging opportunities for pharmacist prescribing, and the 2021/21 Annual report which includes details about the work of the Board.
Registration renewal for pharmacists with general and non-practising registration closed on 30 November with a late renewal period ending on 31 December 2022, after which your name will be removed from the register. If you have not yet renewed, we urge you to do so.
I would like to acknowledge the crucial role that pharmacists and their support staff have played in 2022 in keeping the public safe and well. Thanks also to the pharmacy students who stepped up to support pharmacists and ensure that the public received necessary pharmacy services, including vaccination. These experiences are invaluable and will serve you well during your career in pharmacy. Your efforts and contributions are appreciated.
I wish you all a safe and happy festive season and all the best for 2023.
Chair, Pharmacy Board of Australia
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On 6 October 2022, the Board announced its decision to develop accreditation standards for pharmacist prescribing education programs. These programs would qualify and equip pharmacists to prescribe in accordance with any emerging authorisations set out in state and territory medicines and poisons legislation.
The Board has asked the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC), the accreditation authority for the pharmacy profession, to develop the accreditation standards. This will include wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders including the public, pharmacists, governments, and other health professions. The project will be funded by the Board, and the APC will follow the same procedures as when developing accreditation standards for undergraduate pharmacy education programs for general registration.
We will continue to monitor developments in pharmacist prescribing in states and territories, with several prescribing pilot trials due to begin in 2023. We are engaging regularly with stakeholders and jurisdictions.
Read more in the news item.
Responsible advertising about regulated health services helps to keep the public safe from false or misleading claims and supports people to make informed choices about their healthcare.
Since 2020, health practitioners have been asked to declare that, if they advertise, their advertising meets the advertising requirements of the National Law. Over the past two years Ahpra has conducted random audits of advertising by health practitioners.
Of the pharmacists randomly selected for audit, 21% had some form of online advertising and 4% of pharmacists audited had one or more breaches of the advertising rules.
The most common breach related to the use of discounts or promotions, without sufficient terms and conditions. Advertising that offers a gift, discount or other inducement to attract someone to use the regulated health service or business must state the terms and conditions of the offer, gift or inducement.
The terms and conditions should be provided in plain language.
It may not be possible in some advertising to display the terms and conditions alongside an offer of a gift, discount or inducement. In this case the offer should direct the public to the location of the terms and conditions, such as through a link or directions to the section of the advertiser’s website that contains them. This allows for an advertiser’s full terms and conditions to be stated.
Advertisers must ensure that terms and conditions are easily found and accessible. The public should not be required to exhaustively search for or contact the advertiser for terms and conditions.
Advertising of discounts, promotions or similar may be in breach of the National Law when:
If you advertise, we encourage you to use the self-assessment tool on our Advertising hub to ensure your advertising is compliant with the National Law. The hub also has resources for advertisers which include examples of advertising claims that don’t meet the legal requirements and how to make them compliant.
Ahpra will be conducting follow-up audits. Pharmacists who continue to breach the advertising rules may be subject to regulatory action such as a caution, conditions on registration, or criminal prosecution.
We know that pharmacists want to do the right thing and advertise responsibly. Please use the resources and information available to help ensure your advertising complies with the National Law.
A continued growth in the registered health workforce is highlighted in Ahpra and the National Boards’ Annual report 2021/22. The number of pharmacists has increased 0.3% from 2020/21 and account for 4.1% of all registered health practitioners.
A pharmacy-specific statistical summary and a report from the Chair that covers the work of the Board over the 12 months to 30 June 2022 is also now available on our website. The summary draws on data from the annual report.
This information provides a snapshot of the pharmacy profession as at 30 June 2022, and includes the number of registered pharmacists, a breakdown by gender and age and outcomes of practitioner notifications. Pharmacy-specific data tables are also available for downloading.
To view and download the 2021/22 annual report, visit the Ahpra website.
On 24 November 2022, the Board hosted a stakeholder event in Adelaide. Attendees included students, registered local community and hospital-based pharmacists, and pharmacy stakeholders. The evening included a panel discussion on emerging issues for the pharmacy profession.
The panellists included:
Some of the topics covered were aged care pharmacists, changing scope of practice, prescribing by pharmacists, the challenges pharmacists can face when returning to practice, and workforce shortages.
We thank attendees and panellists for contributing to a robust discussion and a successful evening.
If you have just completed the final year of your pharmacy program and are about to start your internship, welcome to the profession!
If you have secured your supervised practice site, be sure to lodge your provisional registration and supervised practice applications. These must be approved and published on the register before you start your supervised practice hours.
Don’t forget to ensure that you are covered by professional indemnity insurance that meets the Board’s Registration standard: Professional indemnity insurance arrangements. This may be your own cover or cover provided by your employer.
Other useful resources on our website that you should review include:
Did you know that all students enrolled in an approved program of study leading to registration as a pharmacist must be registered?
If you are enrolled in an approved program of study, you do not need to apply for registration. Your education provider will pass on your details to the Board for registration. No fees are required.
While you are a student, we encourage you to learn more about the regulatory requirements for the pharmacy profession and what it means to be registered as a pharmacist with the Pharmacy Board of Australia.
The Board has produced a PowerPoint – Pharmacist registration: What you need to know – to help students understand what is involved in the transition from study to a career as a pharmacist and why they must be registered. You can find the PowerPoint on the Student registration page.
The Code of conduct has been developed to assist and support pharmacists to provide effective regulated health services within an ethical framework. You have a duty to make the care of patients or clients your first concern and to practise safely and effectively. Maintaining a high level of professional competence and conduct is essential for good care.
The code contains important standards for practitioner behaviour in relation to:
We have also developed several guidelines to help you and to clarify our views and expectations on a range of issues. Our Quick reference guide will help you identify the appropriate guidelines to read.
We regularly publish court and tribunal summaries for professional education. Links to past and recent tribunal cases can be found on the Board’s Pharmacy regulation at work: tribunal decisions page. Here is a recent tribunal case:
A pharmacist who misappropriated prescription-only pain killers and stole money from her workplace has been reprimanded, suspended and ordered to comply with health and education conditions. Read more in the news item.
Pharmacists who did not apply to renew their registration by 30 November must renew in December to avoid lapsed registration. Those who apply during the December late period will incur an additional late fee.
Under the National Law, registered health practitioners are responsible for renewing their registration on time each year. If you do not renew online by 31 December 2022, you will have lapsed registration and will not be able to practise. You must make a new application for registration and can only practise once general registration is confirmed.
Registration renewal information is available in the Board's news item and on the Ahpra website.
The Board’s registration data report for 1 July to 30 September 2022 is now available. At this date, there were 35,173 registered pharmacists in Australia. Of these:
The general registration figure on 30 June 2022 included 642 pharmacists who were part of the short-term pandemic response sub-register.
Of the registered pharmacists:
For more data, including registration by principal place of practice and by age group, visit our Statistics page to read the report.
Ahpra holds, publishes and shares data about all registered health practitioners in Australia, including through the public register of health practitioners. We want to hear from you about how we can share, or receive, data to benefit health practitioners and the public (while protecting privacy and confidentiality).
Public consultation on a draft Data strategy is now open. Ahpra is inviting feedback from health practitioners on the future uses of the data we collect and hold, including about three focus areas:
We want to know what you think about including additional information about you and your practice on the public register. We’re also seeking your views on publishing practitioners’ disciplinary history on the public register
We’re interested in sharing some of the data we hold to help protect the public, improve access to health services and contribute to patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
In addition, we’re consulting on using new data technologies ethically and safely to help make our regulatory work more efficient and effective and streamline practitioners’ interactions with us.
The consultation is open until 31 January 2023. To learn more or to make a submission, read the consultation paper and information for practitioners on the Ahpra website.
The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. The Board congratulates APC on its many years of work. APC accredits pharmacy programs in Australia and assesses the skills of pharmacists who qualified outside Australia.
The Board and APC have worked collaboratively since the beginning of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme in 2010. Some highlights include:
We look forward to continuing our collaboration with APC.
Click on the image below to visit the National Scheme's newsletter page. The Summer issue will be published this month, and you can subscribe on the web page.