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How to Make a Complaint


Talk to your pharmacist first

Many problems can be avoided by making sure you have plenty of information regarding your medicines.  We recommend that you talk to your pharmacist about your medicines and any  concerns you have at the time the medicine is dispensed.

How to make a complaint

If, after you have talked with your pharmacist, or you do not feel able to and you want to make a formal complaint about the service you have received, then you should contact:

Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC)
National Freephone 0800 11 22 33
Email hdc@hdc.org.nz

HDC is an independent agency set up to promote and protect the rights of consumers who use health and disability services.  The Commissioner decides whether he will investigate a complaint; whether he considers there has been a breach of the Code of Consumers' Rights.  The Commissioner may subsequently refer the matter to the Council who will consider whether further action is required in relation to a pharmacist's competence or conduct.

The Pharmacy Council is able to receive written complaints about pharmacists, but all complaints affecting a consumer must be referred to HDC.

Concerns about the health of a pharmacist

Pharmacists, like all members of society, can become ill, have accidents or become addicted to substances.  However, a mentally or physically unwell pharmacist may not be able to practise safely.  Under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, a registered pharmacist is required to be 'fit to practise'. Conditions that may affect a pharmacist's ability to practise could include:
  • alcohol or durg dependence.
  • mental health issues.
  • stress related impairment.
  • declining competence due to loss of motor skills, or the early stages of dementia.
  • other illnesses and injuries. 

As a member of the public you may notify the Council in writing of your concerns, but it is often useful to talk to another pharmacist about these before you make a formal notification.  Once notified, the Council will take action to ensure public safety is protected.

How pharmacists maintain their competence

Pharmacists are required to participate in continuing professional development and must declare their participation every year.  For more information see recertification.  If Council receives a notification that a pharmacist may not be competent in their practice, the Council can order a competence review

If you are a health practitioner with concerns about a pharmacist please see concerns about colleagues.

The Pharmacy Council does not discipline pharmacists. This is carried out by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal which is a separate organisation.