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Record keeping

How long am I required to keep records of prescriptions that I have dispensed?

All records of prescriptions dispensed must be retained for two years from the date of dispensing and must be kept on the premises where the prescription was dispensed.

How lo​ng am I required to keep records concerning the emergency supply of Schedule 4 (S4) and Schedule 8 (S8) medicines?

All records of emergency supplies made must be retained for two years from the date of supply and must be kept on the premises where the order was supplied.

Storage of medicines and poisons

Where should I store medicines and poisons in the pharmacy?

All drugs of addiction (Schedule 8) must be kept locked in a safe at all times except when in immediate use. All restricted substances (Schedule 4) and pharmacist only medicines (Schedule 3) must be stored in a room or enclosure to which the public does not have access, such as a dispensary.

Schedule 6 poisons must be stored at least 1.2 metres off the floor (and away from any stairway) unless stored in a container which meets the legal requirements for a child-resistant container/closure.


​Isn't it a breach of privacy to ask about or share information about a patient’s drug treatment/drug seeking with other pharmacists, doctors or other health professionals without the patient’s permission?

Privacy legislation (Health Records Information Privacy Act 2002) and principles for health professionals permit the sharing of patient health record information without the patient’s consent in cases such as this, where the disclosure of the information is reasonably believed to be necessary to lessen or prevent a serious and imminent threat to the life, health or safety of the individual or another person, or to prevent a serious threat to public health or public safety.

More information on privacy legislation applicable to private sector health providers is available on the website of the Information and Privacy Commission NSW.

A NSW Ministry of Health inspector is in my pharmacy re​questing to see my computer and hard-copy dispensing records, dispensed prescriptions, stocks, invoices, and requesting that I produce copies of dispensing records for particular patients, doctors and drugs. Isn't that a breach of privacy?

Under the provisions of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act, you are obliged to give access to a NSW Ministry of Health Inspector (authorised under section 42 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act) or a police officer to search or make copies of records to do with the supply of medicines or poisons for the purpose of ascertaining compliance with the Poisons and therapeutic Goods Act.

Inspectors are bound by strict privacy legislation not to reveal such information to unauthorised persons. You should request to see an Inspector’s photographic identification authority card before allowing him or her access to any records.

Current as at: Friday 22 November 2013
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services