Snapshot of the profession

A total of 31,108 pharmacists were registered for 2017-2018, an increase of 2.55 per cent on 2016-2017.

The profession now comprises 4.4 per cent of all registered health practitioners in the country, although a Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA) report reveals a 14 per cent year-on-year decline in registered pharmacy students in 2017/18.

As of this date there were 6,487 students studying pharmacy, down from more than 7,500 the previous year.

The figure is one of several findings from the PBA’s annual report for the 12 months to June 30, 2018.

A total of 451 notifications were lodged with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (APHRA) and two notifications were made against students. Only 1.9 per cent of all registered pharmacists had notifications made about them. There were 411 notifications that were closed during the year, 14 per cent of which resulted in acceptance of an undertaking or conditions being imposed on a pharmacist’s registration.

Almost 30 per cent of the notifications involved the pharmacist receiving a caution or reprimand from the board.

Just 0.2 per cent of notifications settled resulted in suspension of registration, and the same proportion resulted in a fine being imposed.

More than half (54.7 per cent) of the notifications about pharmacists received by APHRA resulted in no further action.

A total of 44 mandatory notifications were made, 36 about standards, seven about impairment and one about sexual misconduct, while 163 pharmacists were monitored by AHPRA for health, performance and/or conduct during the year.

Key activities for the PBA during the period included convening the Pharmacy Prescribing Forum, funding development of new tools to assist pharmacists to engage with the revised national competency standards framework for pharmacists in Australia in 2016, and funding of the Australian Pharmacy Council for the development of an intern-year blueprint.

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