Newsletter June 2023
JUNE 2023

Today we published the new Competence Standards for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Prescribers along with the new Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy Programmes. 

The competence standards set the foundational requirements for pharmacists practising in Aotearoa New Zealand by describing the competencies, knowledge and skills expected of pharmacists. It’s important these standards are revised and updated frequently.

Read Competence Standards for Aotearoa New Zealand Pharmacist Media Statement

The new accreditation standards are designed to set a high-quality bar for pharmacy education providers in Aotearoa New Zealand and align with the new competence standards for pharmacists and pharmacists prescribers.

Read Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy Programmes Media Statement

The new standards are ready to be downloaded on your devices:


The Assessment Centre (AC) has been completed to its usual high-standard and it is pleasing and assuring that the results are at the levels we experienced typically pre-pandemic. 

A little extra time and the opportunity to ensure practise is at the standard expected has paid off. 79 interns out of 118 who sat the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (or AC) proved that they are now ready to practise as a pharmacist unsupervised. It is great that the pass rate was at the level we more typically experience, and we are optimistic that the November 2022 results were an exception.

Congratulations to the interns who have been successful and assured themselves and us, that they are safe and competent pharmacists. Thank you to all those pharmacists that contributed significantly to supporting the interns. It does take a “village” to support everyone to progress well through their career but equally, in a profession when the potential to harm someone is significant, it is important a high standard of practice is set and maintained.

We want to encourage the candidates who didn’t make it this time not to be disappointed. Have confidence in yourself and call on the right support to prepare yourself for the November 2023 AC. Those who go on to be extremely successful in their careers will often talk of the hardships being the greatest lessons. The profession of pharmacy is no different, but it is even more critical that you get it right for the safety of patients. We hope you will register as a pharmacist in December this year.

The setting of a ten-station examination (an Objective Structured Clinical Examination) that aims to replicate real life situations to test more than a 100 people at the same time fairly and consistently is complex. It requires huge preparation by pharmacists, actors (as patients) and educational experts. The coordination and expertise of all involved has been invaluable and we are pleased that the AC again proved its robustness.


Upholding professional boundaries is fundamental to the maintenance of an appropriate therapeutic relationship between pharmacist and patient, and to preserving the trust and confidence the public places in the profession.  

Due to the power imbalance inherent in the therapeutic relationship, it is the responsibility of the pharmacist to safeguard these boundaries with their patients. This is important to not only protect the patient, but also the practitioner.  

What are professional boundaries? 

Professional boundaries refer to the limits and distinctions that maintain the appropriate professional relationship between healthcare providers and their patients. An appropriate relationship between a pharmacist and a patient is one that is professional and clinical in nature, rather than personal.  

While the relationship between a pharmacist and patient is different to that between other health practitioners who may provide close physical contact or psychological care, the underlying need to maintain professional boundaries applies equally to pharmacists.  

The Code of Ethics (2018) sets out your obligations to manage conflicts of interest, demonstrate accepted standards of behaviour, and not abuse your position (see Principle 1B and Principle 4A, D – G).   

Forming any kind of relationship with a patient outside the professional setting potentially exposes the pharmacist to serious regulatory consequences. The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal has disciplined several health practitioners for breaches of professional boundaries or having inappropriate relationships with patients. Those breaches range from having a romantic or sexual relationship with a patient to forming a friendship with a patient, entering business transactions, and exchanging gifts.  

Proactively safeguarding your professional boundaries is important to avoid any potential breaches  

You can do this by:  

  • using open and clear communication with patients to avoid misunderstandings, 
  • clearly separating your personal and professional life, for example only using work email addresses and phone numbers to contact patients,  
  • avoiding social interactions (including on social media) with patients that may lead to personal involvement, 
  • when interacting with a patient, only make consensual physical contact with a patient when clinically necessary and avoid any physical contact with a patient that could be perceived as inappropriate, and   
  • avoid making sexualised comments, or comments that could be perceived as sexualised to, or about, the patient.  

When to seek support 

You should seek support from colleagues, management, and mentors to navigate challenging situations and ensure you maintain appropriate boundaries. Notify any incidents to your manager, declare any conflicts or pre-existing relationships, and consider whether it is appropriate for you to continue to be involved in the patient’s care. You can also seek advice from the Pharmacy Council or professional bodies such as the Pharmacy Defence Association and Pharmaceutical Society.  



Current APC is required for you to practice

A registered pharmacist is not legally entitled to practise the profession of pharmacy without holding a current APC. This means you must not perform any of the tasks described in any of the scopes of practice including dispensing medicines, advising patients and other health professionals, management of stock, services and staff, and custody of medicines. Furthermore, registered pharmacists are not able to practise as technicians. Practising without an APC is a serious breach of a pharmacist’s professional obligations.

The advertising guidelines will be removed from our website soon

The Advertising Guidelines, a joint publication by the Council and the Pharmaceutical Society, will be removed from Council’s website.

Council’s mandate relates to setting standards and addressing possible breaches of the standards. Publications such as guidelines that support pharmacists’ adherence to the standards are not amongst Council’s primary responsibilities, but we have supported the work of other sector organisations to develop such guidelines.

The Society advised Council that the Advertising Guidelines were removed from its website and that the Pharmacy Practice Handbook contains everything pharmacists require to know or use.

The Advertising Guidelines were developed to support pharmacists’ adherence to the

  • legal requirements,
  • Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) codes, i.e., Therapeutic Services Advertising Code, and Therapeutic Products Advertising Code,
  • and practice standards (Code of Ethics[1])

 relating to advertising services or medicines.

The ASA is best placed to consider complaints about advertising, and we will update the website referring potential complaints to the ASA accordingly.

If a complaint upheld by the ASA raises questions about the conduct of a pharmacist, we may refer that complaint to a professional conduct committee.

[1] See Principle 1, clause G and Principle 4, clause I


The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT) holds disciplinary proceedings against health practitioners — including pharmacists — who are alleged to have breached standards of practice. 

Read the recent HPDT decisions resulting in laying charges against pharmacists

Quarterly Hui

We appreciated having all professional association representatives engage with us during Council/Professional Organisations e-hui we hosted at the beginning of May.

These meetings provide a free and frank opportunity to foster constructive debate/collaboration on Council work and, in effect provide benefit to the profession.

We updated the associations on what we are doing at the moment, focusing on the new competence standards and how the professional organisations can support their members by providing any guidance or support in successfully meeting the standards.


Meet us in Auckland this weekend!

Michael Pead (our Chief Executive), Christine Anderson (our Registrar) and Gita Dahya (our Practice Advisor) will attend the Just Breathe Pharmaceutical Society Symposium.

We weren’t able to attend the event as one of the speakers but please look out for our team in the crowd and have a chat with them – they are looking forward to seeing you there!


We currently have two recruitment opportunities open.

Click here to see the role descriptions.


About Te Tiriti Advisory Group (TTAG)

The purpose of the TTAG is to advise, critique, assure and support Council give effect to its Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations. 

There are two parts to Council’s obligations:

  1. Te Tiriti partnerships, and
  2. addressing health inequities

Each part is different but connected given the historical context is common to both. This means there is overlap and progressing both parts in parallel, will aid the delivery of each part, in effect.

 TTAG Functions

  • Advise: To consider and make recommendations to the Pharmacy Council’s Management Team and Council in relation to the purpose of this group.
  • Critique: To provide objective and critical friend analysis of the Council’s work programme and the associated initiatives.
  • Assure: To provide a level of assurance to Council through oversight of its work programme and the associated initiatives in terms of incorporating Te Ao Māori throughout Council’s work and enable it to uphold its Te Tiriti responsibilities.
  • Support: To provide mentorship and support to the Council operational team in roles whose main responsibilities are to lead Māori and Health Equity programmes and initiatives to increase the likelihood of success.

Kura Moeahu, a member of the TTAG within Council was recently recognised with a Queen Service Medal (QSM) for services to Māori and the arts. Tino pai rawa atu, Kura! We appreciate the mātauranga and knowledge that you are sharing with us through Kai Horomi Manga, our internal cultural capability and competence programme.

Kura Moeahu (Te Kāhui Maunga, Te Āti Awa, Ngā Ruahine, Taranaki-tuturu, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Toa) is Chairman of Te Runanganui o Te Ati Awa, Ātiawa Toa FM radio station, Waiwhetu Marae Trust, Pipitea Marae Trust, Waiwhetu Pa Reservation No.4, and the Harbour Island Kaitiaki Board. He is Tumu Whakarae for Parliamentary Service, cultural advisor to the Mayors of Wellington and Lower Hutt, Iwi representative on Wellington Central Police’s Māori Advisory Board, and a Creative New Zealand Board member.

He is Deputy Chair of Wellington Māori Cultural Society. He is a Board member of Kahungunu Whānau Services.  He was a member of the Wellington Institute of Technology and Whitireia Community Polytechnic. He was instrumental in establishing Te Auaha New Zealand Institute of Creativity. Mr Moeahu has helped his iwi Te Ātiawa with the Awakairangi Waka relocation project.