Change of Ownership of a Retail Pharmacy Business

Regulatory notice 02/2017   Issued: 6 November 2017
Circulation list: Pharmacy owners, superintendent pharmacists and supervising pharmacists
Responsibility for action: Pharmacy owner


Under the Pharmacy Act 2007 a pharmacy must be registered with the PSI in order to operate. However, certain changes in the ownership of a pharmacy may automatically cancel the registration of the pharmacy with the PSI. If this occurs, and the pharmacy intends to continue to operate, you must apply for a new pharmacy registration.

If you are considering any change in the ownership structure of your pharmacy, it is imperative that you contact the PSI before the changes takes place, so that we can advise you if your registration will be affected by this change.

Changes in Ownership

Some examples of the most common changes in the ownership of a pharmacy, which require a new pharmacy registration, include situations where:

  1. A company transfers more than 50% of its shares in one transaction or a series of transactions to: (a) an existing shareholder/(s), and/or (b) a new shareholder/(s).
  2. A company transfers its shareholding to a holding company. Under the Act a change in ownership may occur even where the beneficial ownership remains the same.
  3. The pharmacy ownership is changing from the existing trading company to a different trading company.
  4. A sole trader transfers the ownership of the pharmacy to a company.

Failure to notify the PSI of a change in ownership, which cancels the pharmacy’s registration, will result in the closure of the pharmacy until a new registration is processed. In addition, it is an offence under the Act to operate a pharmacy which is not registered.

In order to ensure that there is no interruption of a pharmacy’s service and that continuity of care is maintained for patients, as well as the appropriate insurance arrangements remaining in place, you are required to give sufficient notice to the PSI of any proposed change in the ownership of your pharmacy. Applications for registration must be received in sufficient time so that each component of the application process can be carried out, as specified in the legislation.

Where sufficient notice is given, the PSI will work with you to ensure that the pharmacy can continue to trade through this process. Section 17 of the Pharmacy Act sets out the relevant legislative requirements, and additional information is available in the pharmacy registration section of the website.