Deactivation of Pharmacy premises in a Shopping Centre

The decision in Assarapin v Australian Community Pharmacy Authority is an interesting case in the Federal Court concerning an appeal from the granting of approval by the Australian Community Pharmacy Board for the ability for Mr Assarapin to dispense drugs at set prices to consumers who get them cheaper because of an offset by Commonwealth subsidies.

Mr Assarapin was a pharmacist who licenced premises in the Miranda Shopping Centre from the Lessee of the premises. The Lessee gave notice to Mr Assarapin of its intention to terminate the Licence as it proposed to redevelop the premises.The termination of the Licence meant that Mr Assarapin would lose the right to dispense drugs from those premises.

Mr Assarapin moved to new premises outside the Centre and the Lessee of his former premises objected to him obtaining approval to dispense drugs from his new premises

The problem for Mr Assarapin was that the premises to which he relocated were too proximate to the Miranda Shopping Centre. The proximity of other pharmacies is a reason for the Authority to decline an application to dispense pharmaceuticals. Specifically, approval cannot be given to another Pharmacy within 500 metres from a shopping centre and the Lessee of the former premises argued this point.

On factual grounds it was found that the pharmacist’s former premises were not within a shopping centre and Mr Assarapin was permitted to gain approval to dispense drugs from his new pharmacy. This was because at the time of the application Mr Asarapin had vacated the former premises and the Authority found that those premises had been demolished and did not compete with the new premises.

The Federal Court upheld the decision of the Authority. This application and appeal show the difficulties for a landlord or pharmacist in trying to protect and maintain a pharmacy approval when the premises are being renovated or redeveloped.

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