Section 150 hearings – a short hop to suspension

As highlighted in the President’s message, the past few months have seen a concerning upward trend in the number of complaints coming to Council’s attention which are serious enough to warrant immediate action by way of a Section 150 hearing. Possible outcomes of Section 150 hearings include having conditions imposed on a pharmacist’s registration or suspension of registration. In instances where a suspended pharmacist is a pharmacy owner, they will need the Council’s consent to enter their own pharmacy premises.

Matters that have seen a pharmacist called in front of a Section 150 hearing include:

  • Large amounts of Schedule 8 medicines going missing (in a pharmacy that they work at or own)
  • Showing up to work drunk and falling asleep on the job
  • Having an unsuitable compounding area or compounding preparations inappropriately
  • Dispensing inappropriate quantities of Schedule 8 medicines
  • Matters relating to fraud

Section 150 hearings are convened at short notice with the pharmacist offered the opportunity to provide written submissions and in most cases an invitation to attend in person is also extended. The pharmacist can be accompanied to the hearing by a support person who can be a legal representative.

Section 150 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) provides for the Council to impose conditions on or to suspend the registration of a pharmacist for the protection of the public, or the pharmacist themselves, or if it is deemed to be generally in the public interest. Action taken under Section 150 is intended to be interim and may be reviewed at the request of the pharmacists or if more information becomes available to the Council.