Buying a pharmacy is exciting.  When you see your name or your company name on a PBS Certificate, it makes the whole experience very real. The pharmacy is yours.  You can get on with doing business and kicking your goals!

However, a question often asked by pharmacy purchaser’s is “when will I get my PBS certificate”?  They need it to open supplier accounts but they haven’t seen it.  So when can they expect it?

When a change of ownership application is processed by the Department of Health, the purchaser is issued with an administration number.  That number is issued for the purposes of preparing additional forms and arranging stationery in the lead up to completion. 

Immediately following settlement, the purchaser’s solicitor needs to advise the Department of Health that settlement has been completed.  Once the Department of Health receives that notification, the Delegate makes the final decision on the outcome of the change of ownership application.

If the change of ownership application is approved, the Department advises the purchaser’s solicitor of the approval by email.  The administration number is then activated as the approval number.

But what about that PBS Certificate?

The Department issues the PBS Certificate a day or so after settlement has been completed.  Sometimes it is issued quickly and sometimes it takes a little bit longer.  The timeliness of the issue of the certificate depends on the availability of the Delegate to sign.   Keep an eye out for it in your inbox on the days following settlement.

But what about the suppliers who need it sooner?

Some suppliers will accept a copy of the email from the Department with the administration number as sufficient information to set up new supplier accounts.  Others will need to wait for the certificate to issue.

This article is intended to be for general information only. It does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish a relationship of client and lawyer. Specific circumstances or changes in law may vary the accuracy or applicability of the information published. We recommend seeking specific legal advice particular to your circumstances before taking any action, or refraining from taking any action, on any issue dealt with in this article.


Sarah Stoddart is the director of Vitality Law Australia, an award winning commercial and property law firm specialising in the pharmacy and broader healthcare industry.   Sarah prides herself on being approachable and helping clients resolve their legal issues in a practical and timely manner.

If you require assistance with healthcare related matters including business or property transactions, regulatory approvals or leasing, please contact Sarah Stoddart on 0421 798 339 or