Medicines and poisons, when used properly, are of great help to the community. They help treat illness, make useful household products and eliminate household pests.

When not used properly, they can harm people. So that medicines and poisons are used in ways that provide the most benefit for the community, the government has made laws to control their manufacture, supply and use.

The laws control medicines and poisons using:

  • licences, which authorise people to manufacture, sell or supply medicines and poisons
  • permits, which allow people to purchase or obtain poisons or controlled substances for industrial, educational, advisory or research purposes, or for the provision of health services

Licenses and permits are controlled under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 and the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017.

Registered health practitioners (for example, medical practitioners, pharmacists, veterinary practitioners, nurse practitioners and dentists) are authorised to possess and use medicines in the lawful practice of their professions.

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