Warning over bulk sales

Reports over questionable bulk medicine sales on the rise, Pharmacy Board warns

The Pharmacy Board of Australia has expressed concern about a recent increase in reports of pharmacies participating in bulk selling of goods.

As reported by the Pharmacy Council of NSW there has been an increase in cases – akin to wholesaling – of bulk purchase requests involving in some instances over 100 packs of a medicine in a single purchase.

“This raises issues such as contravention of jurisdictional drugs and poisons legislation, noncompliance with practice standards and Board guidelines, and practice not aligning with the National Medicines Policy. The policy aims to ensure the quality use of medicines, stating that ‘medicines, whether prescribed, recommended, and/or self-selected should be used only when appropriate…” said the Board in its recent quarterly newsletter

The reports of the bulk sale of scheduled medicines have “relevance to pharmacists in all jurisdictions”, the Board says.

“Pharmacists, as partners to the policy, must use their knowledge and skill to make informed recommendations to patients and to counsel on how to use medications for optimal outcomes,” it advises.

“If asked to sell scheduled medications in bulk, pharmacists are unable to determine the appropriateness of what is being requested relative to the patient who takes the medication”.

The Board’s Guidelines on practice-specific issues state in Guideline 4, Supply of Schedule 2 poisons (Pharmacy Medicines) and Schedule 3 (Pharmacist Only Medicines), that only one proprietary pack of Pharmacy Medicines and Pharmacist Only Medicines is to be supplied at a time, unless there are exceptional circumstances clearly demonstrable by the customer, additional documentation of which should be kept.

The Council also said recent social media forums included circulating photos of a souvenir store selling scheduled medicines.

This raised “the issue of how these medicines were obtained, which may be through the bulk supply from pharmacies. Pharmacists are reminded of their obligations to supply appropriate quantities of scheduled medicines,” the Board newsletter said.

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  1. Owner

    Yes we are clever to force liability onto the pleb Pharmacist “in-charge”. We even make them pay their own liability insurance to take the risk off our books!

    • United we stand

      The irony is the Pharmacist in charge is nothing but a HR person these days. Does the rostering, and employs staff members. PICs quickly find themselves in hot water if they step out of line or question things on ethical or moral grounds etc. And they’ll be replaced within months or a year tops if they do. I’ve been a pharmacist for close to 12 years now but still don’t understand the point of having a PIC! Lets face it. Owners are in charge, why tippy toe around it.

      • Owner

        Yeh mate your onto it. You should come work for me ill give you 1% equity which will make a 5% ROI after overheads.

      • Anthony Tassone

        United we stand

        It may differ from state to state, but in Victoria for example the responsibilities of the ‘Pharmacist Regularly and Usually in Charge’ are outlined in the Victorian Pharmacy Authority (VPA) Guidelines (current edition 2016, effective from 1/10/16;

        Full edition available via below link;


        Relevant excerpt from the VPA guidelines below;

        “The pharmacist who is regularly and usually in charge of a pharmacy or pharmacy department is responsible for:

        1. ensuring compliance with statutory obligations and ethical standards;

        2. the general security of the premises, including control of the keys or other entry devices and intrusion alarm systems;

        3. ensuring the correct supervision of students, pre-registrants and dispensary assistants;

        4. ensuring that in his or her absence, another pharmacist is in charge for the time being;

        5. the preparation and maintenance of an operations manual for use in the pharmacy; and

        6. the maintenance at the premises of the required references and equipment.”


        Further in the VPA guidelines, it is outlined what the responsibilities of proprietors are;

        “Every owner, partner or director of a pharmacy business, if that pharmacist is not the pharmacist who is regularly and usually in charge of that pharmacy, must on a regular basis make himself or herself sufficiently aware of the manner in which the pharmacy is being conducted to determine that it is being carried on in accordance with the law and good pharmaceutical practice.

        If the proprietor finds that it is not, he or she must intervene to ensure that the pharmacy is properly conducted.

        For the purposes of sub-section 3.1.3, being aware of how the pharmacy business is being conducted includes maintaining a direction over the kinds of goods being sold – particularly those known to be subject to abuse or misuse – and that the owner’s procedures and policies are being followed. The procedures and policies should be documented and available within the pharmacy.”


        Anthony Tassone
        President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch)

  2. Ronky

    In the case of the S2s., this is a criminal offence, not just a professional issue. You should report it to your State Health Department or the police, not to the Board.

  3. Simon O'Halloran

    Indeed, recently visited a patient for HMR whom had been receiving ‘free’ DAAs via a well-known discounter, and discontinued the service because they could not keep up with the excessive cost relating to the amount of medicines that were being dispensed. They were not on a complex regimen whatsoever. They instead decided to travel further to a professional pharmacy which charged for their DAA services and were far better off for it both financially and through professional services.

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