Pharmaceutical Services

The role of the Pharmaceutical Services section of the Health Protection Service is to ensure the safe supply of medicines, poisons and therapeutic goods to the ACT community.

The section is responsible for conducting a range of regulatory activities for ensuring that medicines and/or poisons are prescribed, stored and supplied in accordance with local legislation. The section is also responsible for regulating community pharmacy ownership and premises in the ACT.

Pharmaceutical Services is also responsible for distributing information across the ACT community about medicine and therapeutic goods recalls, to ensure that the public is protected from any harm from the use of sub-standard or unsafe products.

Latest developments

Banned substances in sports supplements

It has come to the attention of the Health Protection Service (HPS) that sports supplements labelled as containing banned substances are being sold in the ACT primarily through retail supplement stores.

Banned substances include selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), cardarine, tadalafil, oxedrine, melatonin and phenibut. These substances are associated with important health and safety concerns.

It is illegal for supplement stores to supply these banned substances. It is also illegal for consumers to possess some of these substances without a prescription.

If you are taking a supplement which is labelled as containing a banned substance, you should stop taking it immediately. If you are concerned about your health, please contact your general practitioner.

The HPS is currently investigating this issue further and will be testing a number of products. If you have information to support this investigation, please contact the Pharmaceutical Services Section of the HPS on (02) 6205 0998. 

Banned substances in sports supplements - Consumer Information Sheet 

Nurse and Midwife Immuniser Consultation

ACT Health is undertaking targeted consultation with key stakeholders on a regulatory scheme to continue to allow suitably qualified nurse and midwife immunisers to administer vaccines without a prescription.

At present the ACT is the only jurisdiction where nurse and midwife immunisers are not recognised by regulation. Whilst many nurses and midwives are currently authorised to administer routine vaccinations in the ACT, the current authorising mechanisms allowing them to do so are not fit for purpose and are considered to impose unnecessary levels of red tape upon health care providers.

ACT Health has released the Regulation of Nurse and Midwife Immunisers in the ACT: Issues and Options Paper and opened a six‑week consultation to seek feedback on ACT Health’s preferred policy option to authorise suitably trained nurses and midwives under the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008.

The options presented in the paper seek to introduce a more appropriate regulatory scheme for nurse and midwife immunisers in the ACT and are not intended to impact on people’s access to immunisation services.

Interested parties and individuals are invited to provide a written submission commenting on the options outlined in this paper. Submissions are requested by close of business 14 September 2018. Submissions can be provided as general comments or by completing the questionnaire and submitting via one of the following options:


Post: Attn – ACT Chief Pharmacist
C/- The Health Protection Service
Locked Bag 5005
Weston ACT 2611

Opioid Treatment Guidelines

In February 2018, ACT Health adopted the National Guidelines for Medication Assisted Treatment of Opioid Dependence 2014 (the National Guidelines). The National Guidelines replace ACT’s existing opioid maintenance treatment guidelines.

The adoption of the National Guidelines aligns the ACT with other jurisdictions in the interest of national consistency.

The National Guidelines provide improved evidence based clinical information and support for clinicians in the delivery of opioid maintenance treatment. The National Guidelines will be supported by updated Controlled Medicines Prescribing Standards for clinicians and an ACT‑specific document with relevant local information named Opioid Maintenance Treatment in the ACT: Local Policies and Procedures.

For more information about opioid maintenance treatment, please visit the controlled medicines webpage.

Expansion of the Pharmacist Vaccination Program

On 22 June 2016 the ACT Pharmacist Vaccination Program was expanded to allow pharmacists to administer the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine to patients without a prescription. This means that adults aged over 18 years can now be vaccinated against the flu and whooping cough from their local pharmacist.

Not all community pharmacies offer vaccination services. Consumers are encouraged to ask their local pharmacy about whether they provide vaccination services and vaccination costs.

All pharmacists must undertake additional training before they vaccinate people against the flu or whooping cough. The ACT Pharmacist Vaccination Standards set out the rules and requirements for pharmacists to administer vaccines.

For more information about pharmacist vaccinations, please visit the Pharmacist Vaccinations webpage.

Amendments to Controlled Medicines

In 2016, ACT Health developed amendments to the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 to improve the regulatory framework and reduce the burden placed on doctors, pharmacists and patients in the supply of controlled medicines.

As outlined in the Controlled Medicines Prescribing Standards, prescribers are able seek approval to prescribe a therapeutic class of controlled medicine(s) for a patient through a category approval system, as determined by the Chief Health Officer (CHO) or they can apply for approval for each drug, form and strength.

More information

Controlled Medicines

Pharmacy Topics