The proposed replacement of the Medicines Act has presented an opportunity to review the current regime for pharmacy licencing.  Currently, there are ownership restrictions that require pharmacies (with few exceptions) to be majority owned by pharmacists, and limit pharmacists to majority ownership of no more than five pharmacies.  There is also a broad prohibition on prescribers holding an interest in pharmacies.  The Regulatory Impact Statement prepared by the Ministry of Health suggests the restrictions are not necessary to achieve safety objectives and may be hindering innovation and competition.  Under the proposed new regime, there will be no requirement for pharmacist ownership and no restriction on the number of pharmacies that can be owned by an individual.  Instead, pharmacy licence holders will be required to appoint qualified pharmacists to ensure that professional standards are met.  The prohibition on prescribers having an interest in a pharmacy will be retained, but with amendments to ensure integrated health services are not restricted.  Licences will also no longer be restricted to physical premises.