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The delivery and provision of healthcare in Australia is heavily regulated. The regulatory framework that we have is a pastiche of different philosophical views on the appropriate delivery of healthcare and concerted attempts by different governments to improve healthcare for Australians, through increased efficiency or through legislating for higher standards for all those in the industry. One such example of this heavily regulated sector is the Pharmacy Location Rules.

When you run your own pharmacy, you will inevitably become familiar with the Pharmacy Location Rules. These rules set out location-based criteria that must be met in order for a pharmacy to be approved in Australia. The Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA) is the relevant statutory authority established by the National Health Act 1953 (Cth), which administers the Rules.  The Pharmacy Location Rules form part of a broader agreement, the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

The Pharmacy Location Rules are relevant for you when you want to change or set up a brand new pharmacy. If you don’t meet the standards set out in the Rules, it’s highly likely that ACPA will refuse to approve your application to become an approved pharmacist.

Changing the size of your (already approved) pharmacy

If you would like to expand or contract the size of your pharmacy, Rule 121 applies.

Relocating an Approved Pharmacy Business

A different set of rules operate if you wish to relocate your pharmacy:

  • rule 122 – relocating within the same facility
  • rule 123 – relocation within the same town (10km)
  • rule 124 – short distance relocation (1km).

Establishing a New Pharmacy Business

Whenever you establish an entirely new pharmacy business, the most stringent rules apply. Ensure that you are familiar with the rule that applies to your situation:

  • rule 130 – new pharmacy (at least 1.5km)
  • rule 131 – new pharmacy (at least 10km)
  • rule 132 – new additional pharmacy (at least 10km)
  • rule 133 – new pharmacy in a facility (small shopping centre)
  • rule 134 – new pharmacy facility (large shopping centre)
  • rule 135 – new pharmacy in a facility (private hospital)
  • rule 136 – new pharmacy in a facility (large medical centre).


The Pharmacy Location Rules are designed to meet the needs of Australians in delivering high quality healthcare where it is most needed. Running your own pharmacy is often rewarding, but as with any business there are regulatory requirements you must comply with. When you are altering the size of your pharmacy, relocating or establishing a new pharmacy, familiarise yourself with the Pharmacy Location Rules and ensure that you provide the necessary evidence to ACPA to make sure your application is accepted.

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