Rural and Indigenous Health

Rural and Indigenous health advocacy through the infrastructure of community pharmacy

The standard of health care for rural areas should be equal to the standards available in metropolitan areas. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild) is guided by the principle that all Australians have a right to equity and access to community pharmacy services.

The Guild represents pharmacists who are the proprietors of community pharmacies. Approximately 20% of the total 5,822 community pharmacies across Australia are located within Categories 3-7 of the Modified Monash Model (MMM) geographical classification system.

Community pharmacy as part of the rural/remote primary health care team

The community pharmacy sector provides a highly qualified and skilled health professional workforce that can be better utilised to help to address problems of access to health services experienced by some 7 million Australians living in regional, rural and remote areas.

There are approximately 566 towns in MMM 3-7 that have only one pharmacy, and in many cases, the pharmacist is the only health professional in town.

In these situations in particular, pharmacies are often the local hub for community healthcare services and general support for the local population, particularly for the elderly and unwell.

For further information, please email

There are a suite of rural support and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific programs offered under the Community Pharmacy Agreement. Details and more information about these programs can be found on the PPA Online.

Community Pharmacies for Rural & Indigenous Australia (CPRIA) Advisory Group

Established in early 2011, the CPRIA Advisory Group addresses rural and remote population health issues in general, and is also responsible for ensuring that Indigenous-specific issues relevant to community pharmacy are addressed under various national health promotion and health prevention strategies, across rural, remote and urban areas. The members of the CPRIA Advisory Group bring together a mixture of backgrounds, expertise and experience from all over Australia.

For further information, please email

Rural Pharmacists Australia (RPA)

The Rural Pharmacists Australia (RPA) was formed in 1995 to become a member body of the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) representing rural pharmacy.  Currently, the RPA is an alliance of five national pharmacy organisations consisting of:

The Rural Pharmacist Australia (RPA) represents thousands of individual pharmacists and pharmacy owners who provide services in remote and rural Australia, as community pharmacists, pharmacists in training or pharmacy students. The membership in the NRHA assists the RPA to add pharmacy's voice to national rural health policy development and implementation.

The RPA is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people in rural and remote Australia.  In the context of health reform and changing service delivery models, the RPA's goals are to work with the NRHA (and where appropriate consumers, other health professionals and government) to:

  • represent rural pharmacy through a collaborative approach;
  • establish and maintain membership of and actively engage with the NRHA ensuring a collective voice on issues of common interest;
  • bring to the NRHA the rural, remote and indigenous health pharmacists’ perspectives including health access issues experienced by Australians living in rural and remote areas;
  • address and provide direction on rural, remote and indigenous health policy issues and priority action areas relating to pharmacy at NRHA meetings; and
  • consider and respond to matters arising from NRHA meetings.

The key messages of RPA include that:

  1. Pharmacists are team-oriented medicines experts.  We are accessible and can provide health solutions.  We are here to help.  We are trusted by the community and we want to be part of your health care team.
  2. As pressure grows on the health system we need to use all our resources in a smarter way – and that means a broader health service role for pharmacists.  With Australia's critical and growing healthcare issues, governments and health care providers cannot afford to underutilise pharmacists.
  3. The RPA is the logical pharmacy representative group for NRHA (and government and policy makers) to be approached to achieve health reform and health solutions

For more information please contact

Related Information

Closing the Gap (CTG)

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Co payment Program

Rural Pharmacy Video Competition

Cultural Engagement Video Competition

Page last updated on: 22 July 2022