What we do


The Pharmacy Council protects the public

The Pharmacy Council is a responsible authority created by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. Our purpose is to protect the public by making sure pharmacists are competent and fit to practise.

The Act defines our main functions

The Act defines our main functions. Through the promotion of good pharmacist practice we focus on protecting the health and safety of the public.

We make sure pharmacists are qualified and registered

We manage qualifications and registrations by:

  • setting the scopes of practice for pharmacists (the health services that a pharmacist can provide)
  • setting the qualifications pharmacists must have within each scope of practice
  • considering applications for annual practising certificates
  • authorising the registration of pharmacists under the Act and maintaining the public register.

We make sure pharmacists are competent

We make sure pharmacists are fit to practise by:

  • Setting standards of clinical, ethical, and cultural competence for the profession, including enabling effective and respectful interaction with Māori
  • looking into cases where pharmacists may not be able to perform their required functions.
  • Receiving and, if necessary, acting on any reported concerns about a pharmacist’s practice, health, conduct or competence.

We monitor education and training programmes

We oversee the education of pharmacists by:

  • recognising, accrediting and setting programmes to ensure the ongoing competence of pharmacists
  • accrediting and monitoring educational institutions in their delivery of those programmes
  • promoting education and training in the profession.

We do anything else the Act requires us to

Our other responsibilities outlined in the Act cover these areas:

Protecting the public

  • If the Council has reason to believe that a pharmacist’s practice poses risk of harm to the public we must advise ACC, the Director-General of Health, the Health and Disability Commissioner and their employer in writing, explaining why. A copy of the notice must also be given to the pharmacist.
  • Promoting public awareness of our responsibilities

Promoting effective, efficient health services

  • Promoting and enabling inter-disciplinary collaboration and co-operation in delivery of health services

Other duties as they’re called for by law

  • Performing any other functions, powers, and duties given to us by this or any other Act