Pharmaceutical Assistants

Pharmaceutical assistants must be registered with the PSI to practice in Ireland.

pharmaceutical assistant

Under the provisions of the Pharmacy Act 2007 (as amended) a “pharmaceutical assistant” means “a person who before the coming into operation of section 4(1) of this Act was competent, under section 19 of the Pharmacy Act, (Ireland) Amendment Act 1890 to transact the business of a pharmacist in his or her temporary absence”.  

A pharmaceutical assistant may work in conjunction with a pharmacist in the sale and supply of medicines or carry out the activities of a pharmacist during their temporary absence from the pharmacy. 

Scope of practice – temporary absence 

The Pharmacy Act 2007 provides conditions under which retail pharmacies must operate, including that the sale and supply of medicinal products must be done under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist. To do otherwise is an offence, except where a registered pharmaceutical assistant acts on behalf of a pharmacist during their temporary absence. 

The current position regarding scope of practice of a pharmaceutical assistant and what constitutes temporary absence is based on the Code of Practice governing the temporary absence clause of the Pharmacy Act (Amendment) Act 1890, as agreed between the PSI’s former Council and the Pharmaceutical Assistants Association in 1994. 

In 2016 and 2018, the PSI Council consulted on draft statutory rules in seeking to define 'temporary absence' of a pharmacist from a pharmacy, as provided for under Section 30 of the Act. Further information and updates can be found in the consultations section of our website. 

Registration – Pharmaceutical Assistant 

It is no longer possible to obtain first time registration as a pharmaceutical assistant as the qualification of pharmaceutical assistants in Ireland has ceased.   

The Register for pharmaceutical assistants is closed except for those who were eligible for continued registration from the old Register or those who held a certificate showing that they had under the 1890 Act passed the prescribed examination showing that they were competent to transact the business of a pharmaceutical chemist in his or her temporary absence.  

Currently, there is no applicable registration requirement for pharmacy technicians or general pharmacy counter assistants. These grades of personnel would always work under the guidance and supervision of a pharmacist.

Continued Registration

Pharmaceutical assistants wishing to remain on the register to practice in Ireland must apply on an annual basis for continued registration and pay an annual fee.

For further information, please visit our Continued Registration page.

Restoring your Registration  

Pharmaceutical Assistants who have voluntarily cancelled their registration have the right to apply for restoration to the Register. Please contact the Registrant and Customer Relations Team directly regarding the pharmaceutical assistant restoration process by email at Please provide your registration number and specify that you want to restore to the register.

Cancelling your Registration

If you no longer wish to be registered with the PSI, are considering a career break, moving abroad or retiring, you can voluntarily cancel your registration on the PSI online registration portal. Please note that the effect will be immediate.  

Log on to your account on the PSI online registration portal and select ‘Voluntary Cancellation’.

Certificates of Registration

We send a hard copy of the certificate of registration by post to the registrant’s address as listed on the PSI online registration portal once applications for continued registration are approved. 

Changes to Registration Details

It is important that registrants keep their contact details and other information updated for the public registers. For further information, please read more on the link above.

For further information, please visit our Changes to Registration Details page.

customer retail pharmacy ireland
Visit the Registration Portal to update your details or complete an application for Continued Registration
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