Scheduling of medicines and poisons
There is a national classification system that controls how substances such as medicines and chemicals are made available to the public. Medicines and chemicals are classified in schedules according to the level of control over their availability needed to protect public health and safety.
The schedules are published in the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons. The schedules are adopted under the Controlled Substances (Poisons) Regulations 2011.
Pharmacy Medicines - substances available from a pharmacy or if a pharmacy is not available, from a licensed person
Pharmacist Only Medicines - substances available from a pharmacist without a prescription
Prescription Only Medicines - substances that should only be used or supplied on the order of a prescriber (eg a medical practitioner) and available from a pharmacist on prescription
Caution - substances that have a low potential to cause harm
Poison - substances that have a moderate potential to cause harm
Dangerous poisons - substances that have a high potential for causing harm at low levels of exposure
Controlled drugs (drugs of dependence) - substances that need to be available for use but manufacture, supply, possession and use need to be restricted to reduce abuse, misuse and dependence.
Substances of such danger to health as to warrant prohibition of sale, supply and use.
For more information about the scheduling of medicines contact the Legislation Manager within Medicines and Technology Policy and Programs.