Concerns or complaints about a pharmacist
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 the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC).
HDC is an independent agency set up to promote and protect the rights of consumers who use health and disability services. HDC will decide whether your complaint will be investigated and whether your rights under the Code of Consumers’ Rights have been breached. HDC may subsequently refer the matter to the Council which will consider whether further action is required in relation to a pharmacist's competence or conduct.
To understand you rights and options see: https://www.hdc.org.nz/making-a-complaint/
Alternatively, you can contact the HDC via:
National Freephone 0800 11 22 33
The Pharmacy Council is also able to receive written complaints about pharmacists, but if the complaint relates to health service affecting a consumer, it must be referred to HDC.
To lodge a complaint or raise concerns with the Pharmacy Council, please click here to complete an online form (opens in a new tab).
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.