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Vital facts on community pharmacy

Community Pharmacy

Australia’s system of community pharmacy and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme are recognised as world leading.

• There are 5,822 community pharmacies in Australia1

• On average, every person visits a community pharmacy 18 times each year, in metropolitan, rural and remote locations2

• Community pharmacies are the most frequently accessed and most accessible health destination, with over 358.4 million individual patient visits annually and 2179 pharmacies open after-hours, including weekends3

• In 2021, under the PBS and RPBS, community pharmacies dispensed almost 218.3 million Government subsidised (Above Co-Pay) prescriptions.4

• Pharmacists are one of the most trusted professions along with nurses and doctors. Public opinion surveys have shown that 84% of adults trust the advice they receive from pharmacists.5

• 65% of patients say they use one pharmacy for everything or at least one category of product / service. 33% of patients state they were driven by convenience of location6

• More than 94 per cent of pharmacies nationwide have achieved quality accreditation7

• There have been over 37 million electronic prescriptions issued for patients (original and pharmacy repeat prescriptions).8

• As of 30th June 2020, 99.9 per cent of PBS or RPBS prescriptions are now claimed electronically online. 9

• In capital cities, 97 per cent of people have access to at least one pharmacy within 2.5 km radius, while in the rest of Australia 66 per cent of people are within 2.5 km of a pharmacy.10

• Seven Community Pharmacy Agreements have been negotiated between the Government and the Guild, underpinning patient access to PBS medicines and professional services for over 30 years.

• As of 31 December 2021, there were 35,940 registered pharmacists in Australia. 63.0% of pharmacists are women; and about 58% are under 40 years of age.11

• Pharmacies support public health initiatives such as Opioid Replacement Therapy and needle and syringe programs and participating in the Return of Unwanted Medicines Program improving social, economic and health outcomes.

• Community Pharmacist-Led medication-adherence interventions have improved adherence rates by 9.3% and reduced health system costs by $1.9 billion.12

• In 2019–20, 712,017 of all hospitalisations were classified as potentially preventable. Of these, 218,086 potentially preventable public hospitalisations and 61,812 private hospitalisations were due to chronic conditions (excluding diabetes). Medicines adherence is an important role for community pharmacists.13

• Between July 2020 and June 2021 there were 15.7 million dose administration aids provided by community pharmacies to patients to assist them to remain living at home.14

• Community pharmacies provide a national network of National Diabetes Services Scheme access points for the 1,440,928 Australians with diabetes registered with the NDSS15

1 Guild Digest 2021
2 Pearson, D., De lure, R. (2021) NAB Pharmacy Survey 2021. NAB.
3 PBS Date of Supply, Guild Digest
4 Department of Health, Date of Supply Report, downloaded 09 May 2022, Accessed at
6 CP2025_Integrated Market Research Report 2018 – Orima Research
7 Quality Care Pharmacy Program
8 Australian Digital Health Agency,, May 2022

9; Page 25
10 The Pharmacy Guild of Australia 2020
11 Pharmacy Board of Australia Registrant Data;
12 Dovepress Journal – Patient Preference and Adherence: Pharmacist-led medication non-adherence intervention: reducing the economic burden placed on the Australian Health Care system
13 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Admitted Patient Care 2019-20; Table 8.2;
15; Data Snapshot – All types of diabetes (March 2022

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