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Pharmacist Prescribers


Scope of Practice


Under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 the Pharmacy Council (the Council) must publish a description of the contents of the profession in terms of one or more scopes of practice. The Council has developed the competence and registration requirements for the Pharmacist Prescriber scope of practice. In this scope suitably qualified and trained pharmacists who are already working in a collaborative health team environment will be able to prescribe medicines.

Education and training of Pharmacist Prescribers


The prescribed qualification for the pharmacist prescriber scope of practice is a university-based Post Graduate qualification. A guidance statement outlines the requirements for entry into the pharmacist prescribing course. Accreditation standards for the prescribed qualification have been developed and used to accredit the qualification.

The following qualifications have been prescribed and accredited by the Council as requirements for registration in the Pharmacist Prescriber Scope of Practice:
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Pharmacy in Prescribing, University of Auckland
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacist Prescribing, University of Otago
A prescribing competency framework and standards are used to assess pharmacist prescribers during their training.

Registration Requirements


On completion of the required qualification the pharmacist will be eligible to apply for registration in the Pharmacist Prescriber scope of practice. The registration requirements, application form and accompanying notes can be downloaded .

Application for registration includes submitting a Practice Plan; additional information relating to the content of the practice plan can be found here.

Once registered in the Pharmacist Prescriber scope of practice, pharmacists will be entitled to use RegPharmNZ(Prescriber) as a post-nominal.

Standards and Guidance for Pharmacist Prescribers


Pharmacist Prescribers have ethical obligations additional to those outlined in the Code of Ethics 2011 for the pharmacy profession.  Standards and Guidance for Pharmacist Prescribers outlines these obligations and include the competence standards for pharmacist prescribers.

Pharmacist Prescribers are eligible to provide Level B, C and D medicine management services without the requirement of additional training or education. For further information please download the Pharmacist Prescribers Medicines Management Statement.

On-going registration requirements


Pharmacist Prescribers will, from time-to-time, amend or expand their defined area of practice or change the collaborative health team in which they work. To ensure that pharmacist prescribers continue to work in areas where they are competent to do so, Council will require a Practice Review to be conducted when this occurs. This is a reflective exercise against the competence standards and will identify the areas where further learning is required. Any changes to the practice plan and the practice review are to be declared at the time of APC renewal.

Overseas-qualified pharmacist prescribers


Overseas-qualified pharmacists prescribers wishing to register in New Zealand will have their qualifications and work history assessed through a Council-approved recognition process.  The same registration requirements will apply as for New Zealand qualified pharmacist prescribers.  For further information, please contact the Professional Standards Advisor.

Return to Practice


The Return to Practice process applies to New Zealand-qualified pharmacist prescribers returning to practise after time away from their prescribing practise environment.  It also applies to pharmacists who have qualified as prescribers, but who did not immediately register or begin practising in the prescriber scope of practice.  For further information, please contact the Professional Standards Advisor.

Pharmacist prescribers and pecuniary interests


The Licensing Authority, Medicines Control has sole jurisdiction to consent or not consent prescriber interest in a pharmacy under section 42C of the Medicines Act 1981. Under the provisions of section 42C authorised prescribers are able to have an interest in a pharmacy with the consent of the Licensing Authority.

The Licensing Authority has strategies and policies in place to implement section 42C of the Medicines Act as prescriber interest in a pharmacy is not completely disallowed. Pharmacist Prescribers are designated prescribers which puts them in the class of authorised prescribers. Therefore the provisions of section 42C of the Medicines Act would be applied to pharmacist prescribers holding a financial interest in a pharmacy/ies.

The Licensing Authority can impose conditions on the License to Operate a pharmacy where a prescriber interest exists. They can impose a condition which prevents the pharmacy from dispensing prescriptions issued by a prescriber holding an interest in the pharmacy. Such conditions are currently imposed on licenses where prescriber interest is found to exist.

Section 76A of the Act makes it an offence for any pharmacist or person associated with a pharmacy to give, offer, or agree to give, any money or other consideration as a commission on prescriptions to any authorised prescriber.

Frequently asked questions


Throughout the consultation period and implementation process for pharmacist prescribers, a number of questions were raised. Click here.

A copy of the Council's 2010 application for independent prescribing authority is available here.