Key messages

  • The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 and the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 regulate medicines and poisons in Victoria.
  • The department encourages the proper use of medicines and poisons in partnership with manufacturers, suppliers, health practitioners and the public.
  • The regulations also cover the supply of medicines to racing yachts and ships in Victorian ports.

Medicines and poisons that are controlled under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 and the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 are defined under the Act as being in the Poisons Code or in the Poisons Standard (Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons) as Schedule 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 poisons.

Only scheduled substances are controlled. They include:

  • prescription medicines
  • pharmacy-only medicines
  • drugs of dependence
  • many household, industrial and agricultural chemicals 

The Act and Regulations 2017 prohibit and regulate the possession and use of medicines and poisons in Victoria. Under these laws, the department:

  • issues licences and permits, to limit the manufacture, supply and use of medicines and poisons to those people who are properly trained and equipped
  • monitors labelling and packaging of medicines and poisons, to confirm standards intended to protect the public from harm are met
  • monitors health practitioners’ prescribing habits and pharmacists' dispensing procedures, to identify matters that might endanger patients
  • monitors procedures, to ensure medicines are administered in accordance with the prescribers’ instructions at hospitals and residential aged care services
  • oversees the supply and use of methadone and buprenorphine in the treatment of patients with a opioid dependency.

In partnership with manufacturers, suppliers, health practitioners and the public, the department encourages the proper use of medicines and poisons.

New Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 guidance

For further information and clarification

To examine reference material and key legislative documents, refer to the following sections of this website:

  • ‘Poisons Code’ in relation to the adoption of the Poisons Standard; appendices of that standard; and key definitions
  • ‘Licence and permits’ in relation to:
    • licences to manufacture and/sell or supply by wholesale
    • permits to purchase medicines and poisons for industrial use, research and the provision of health services
  • Pharmacotherapy’ in relation to policies and procedures for opioid-replacement therapy (ORT) with methadone and buprenorphine
  • ‘Treatment approvals’ in relation to permits to prescribe Schedule 8 medicines and warrants to prescribe restricted Schedule 4 medicines
  • ‘Pharmacists’ in relation to supply of prescribed medicines
  • The section corresponding to the corresponding health practitioner for controls relating to possession, storage, recording, use, administration, supply and prescribing by medical practitioners and other registered health practitioners

‘More information’, relating to other standards and codes to which the Act and Regulations might relate, can be accessed by using the links shown at the right-hand side of this page, including:

  • Labelling and packaging - the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) guide to labelling and packaging of scheduled medicines and poisons
  • The Poisons Standard (SUSMP) for full lists of scheduled medicines and poisons and detailed labelling and packaging specifications
  • Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to examine registrations, endorsements and conditions that apply to registered health practitioners
  • Links to the Port of Melbourne and organisations for racing yachts in relation to the supply of Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines to an owner or crew member of a racing yacht in Victoria or to the master or chief officer of a ship in port in Victoria
    • Only those persons or businesses with appropriate authorisation may supply scheduled medicines to ships and yachts
  • Medicines Australia Code of Conduct in relation to the supply of professional sample (starter) packs of Schedule 2, Schedule 3 and Schedule 4 medicines 
    • In Victoria, that code is enforced as a condition on the licence of manufacturers and wholesaler
  • Victorian legislation and parliamentary documents – see ‘Victorian law today’ to obtain electronic copies of the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 and the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017.

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