‘The owner of the pharmacy is always ultimately responsible’

two pharmacists

Pharmacy authority reminds absentee owners not to shirk their responsibilities

The Victorian Pharmacy Authority has reminded proprietors about their responsibilities in its December Circular.

“Many pharmacies are owned by pharmacists who do not work in them,” says the authority.

“In many instances, the owner will attend the pharmacy frequently to ensure that legal and professional requirements are met. In others, perhaps due to distance, owners are essentially absent and may rely largely on the appointed pharmacist regularly and usually in charge.

“However, the owner of the pharmacy is always ultimately responsible for the conduct of the pharmacy and cannot abdicate this responsibility,” it stresses.

The authority says it expects that all owners of pharmacy businesses in Victoria visit their pharmacies regularly.

This reminder comes soon after a poll that found most AJP readers think there should be mandatory work requirements for owners, with over a third calling for them to work >350 hours per year in each of their pharmacies.

From a total of 691 individual votes, 36% thought owners should be required to work in each of their pharmacies >350 hours per year.

A further 20% said owners should be required to work in each of their pharmacies 250 hours per year.

Eighteen percent said there should be no mandatory work requirements for owners.

The Victorian Pharmacy Authority says proprietors’ responsibilities include spending time visiting their pharmacy to ensure that its business commercial arrangements comply with the Act.

“Owners can also use self-audit forms to help satisfy them that their businesses are run in accordance with the law and professional standards,” says the authority.

“If a proprietor finds that their pharmacy is not being carried on in accordance with legislation and good pharmacy practice, they must intervene to ensure that the pharmacy is properly conducted.

“All partners in a partnership or directors of a corporate owner share these responsibilities,” it says.

“Some pharmacists continue to obtain advice about commercial arrangements, including pharmacy trusts, from persons who may not have fully understood the ownership provisions of the Act. Pharmacists should take steps to satisfy themselves that such arrangements are compliant.”

The authority says it is currently considering matters at disciplinary panel hearings where applicants or licensees have delegated responsibilities to a support person or banner group, “resulting in false information being submitted in applications or failure to make notifications to the authority in order to obtain a licence”.

“Pharmacists should be aware of the potential ramifications of delegating such responsibilities and in the case of corporate owners, pharmacists are encouraged to review their duties as directors under the Corporations Act,” the authority urges.

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