Conduct under review

Pharmacy’s code of conduct is to be revisited as Board renews warnings over advertising breaches

The Pharmacy Board of Australia has started a scheduled review of the existing Pharmacy Code of Conduct. 

The review, being conducted with other National Boards that share a similar code, will “draw on best available research and data and involve additional stakeholder consultation and engagement,” the Board said in its latest communique.

The review is still at an early research phase, the Board says, however, it is “already considering how it can maximise opportunities for input when the consultation stage of the review starts”.

In addition to public consultation, the Board intends to use its website and other social media to inform the profession of how it can contribute to the review.

The Pharmacy Code of conduct (the Code) is also used by ten other National Boards (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice, Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic, Dental, Medical Radiation Practice, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Osteopathy, Physiotherapy and Podiatry), but incorporates profession-specific changes.

The announcement of the review comes as the Board reiterated its warnings to pharmacists on their legal and professional advertising obligations.

“Registered health practitioners who advertise health services need to check, correct and comply with their professional and legal advertising obligations,” the communique states.

Under the National Law, a regulated health service or a business providing a regulated health service must not advertise in a way that:

  • is false, misleading or deceptive
  • uses gifts, discounts or inducements without explaining the terms and conditions of the offer
  • uses a testimonial or a purported testimonial
  • creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, and/or directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services.

“There are also restrictions on advertising in a way that identifies a health practitioner as a specialist when they do not hold registration as a specialist or as an endorsed practitioner in a health profession,” the Board said.

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