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 5,350 community pharmacies across Australia are located within Categories 2-6 of the Pharmacy Access/Remoteness Index of Australia (PhARIA).

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

The professional training, skill and knowledge of the community pharmacists should be better utilised in rural/remote areas, particularly in areas where access to other health professionals may be limited.

Community Pharmacy is the only health professional service to have expanded its rural services over the last decade.

Across Australia, they are 425 local communities that have just a single pharmacy in their town. In these situations in particular, pharmacies are often the most important local hub for healthcare community services and general support for the local population, particularly for the elderly and unwell. For further information, please email

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.

Members of CPRIA 2013

CPRIA MEMBERS 2013 (From left to right)
Helen Flannery, John Black, Joseph O'Malley, Terry Battalis (Chair),
Shelley Forester, Ian Todd, Michael Beahan and Kellie Beckenham

Glen Ward - Inaugural chair of CPRIA 2011

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 three national pharmacy organisation’s consisting of:

Aims of the RPA

The Rural Pharmacist Australia (RPA) represents thousands of individual pharmacists and pharmacy owners who provide services in remote and rural Australia, in hospital multidisciplinary teams, as community pharmacists or pharmacists in training. The membership in the NRHA assists the RPA to add pharmacy 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 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 in both community and hospital settings, including health access issues experienced by consumers 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.

For more information please contact


‘Access to Pharmacy Services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’ (PDF, 170.68 KB)

‘Access to Community Pharmacy Services in Rural/Remote Australia’ (PDF, 206.43 KB)

‘Access to Telehealth Initiative through Community Pharmacy’ (PDF, 181.31 KB)

Additional Guild policies

Position Papers

Joint Position Paper with the National Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations (NACCHO) – ‘Improving access to (PBS) medications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People through Section 100 RAHSP Scheme 2012’ (PDF, 225.69 KB)

Joint Position Paper with the National Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations (NACCHO) – ‘Improving access to Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule Medicines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’ (PDF, 226.78 KB)

Page last updated 09 July 2019