Keeping of records in pharmacy

Please see advice provided by Victorian Pharmacy Authority (VPA) on how long you should keep the records in pharmacy.

* Prescription records: At least three years. This applies to all dispensed medicines, irrespective of poisons schedule and will be electronic.
* Claimable Pharmaceutical Benefit prescriptions: At least two years as per Medicare auditing requirements.
* Schedule 8 duplicates and register: At least three years.

Physical prescription duplicates that are neither claimable nor S8 DO NOT need to be retained by the pharmacy. Private prescriptions, unless for S8, may be returned to the patient.

When it refers to ‘prescription records’ this means the dispensing records on your dispensary software.

In terms of the actual prescription itself, if it is a non-S8 claimable prescription, then it should be kept for at least two years (a digital or electronic copy is acceptable in this case). If the pharmacy has scanned the prescription and kept a digital copy – then they do not need to retain a hard copy of the prescription. Some pharmacies may feel more assured to do so ‘just in case’ but as long as the pharmacy can produce a copy of the script (digital or hard copy) up to two years after supplying for a PBS audit or query purpose, then that is fine.

For a S8 prescription, at least 3 years (in a file that is dedicated for the purposes of records of S8 invoices for stock and prescriptions).

For physical prescriptions that are neither claimable under the PBS or S8 – there is no requirement to retain them by the pharmacy, but some pharmacies may retain for up to 12 months in case there is a future query from the patient or prescriber.

For more information please contact VPA on 03 9653 1700.

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Page last updated on: 27 May 2021