How long to keep records
All dispensing, supply and prescription records must be retained for:
- two years for Schedule 4 medicines
- five years for Schedule 8 medicines.
This applies to original documents, copies or scans, computer records and Schedule 8 Registers.
Pharmacists should take adequate steps to secure the all records and documents held, and to protect the information against data loss or corruption.
Producing records on demand
Any record that the Medicines and Poisons Regulations require a pharmacist to make and keep, must be able to be produced when requested by an authorised officer of the Department of Health. Original documents must be surrendered or copies, data and reports produced as instructed, within a reasonable time frame.
When storing or archiving records and data, pharmacies should ensure they are able to locate and retrieve individual document or information when needed, according to:
- patient or medicine
- date of supply or range of dates
- prescription reference number(s).
Storing hardcopy records
Hardcopy originals in use must be kept on site, at the pharmacy and remain under the control of the pharmacist with overall responsibility.
Once no longer in use, hardcopy records may be securely stored elsewhere so long as the records can be produced when required. Storage at residential properties or the pharmacist’s home is not suitable. Off-site storage is recommended through a commercial operator with expertise to manage:
- privacy and security
- prevent unauthorised access, alteration, theft or loss
- protect from damage due to fire, water or other disaster; and
- retrieval on demand.