Regulation of medicines, drugs and poisons in NSW is set out in the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 and its associated Regulation. This legislation is designed to protect the health and welfare of members of the NSW community. It imposes limitations on the use of many potent medicines, drugs and poisons by restricting their distribution, prescription and/or administration to appropriately qualified and authorised persons.

The Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 and the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 are available online.

The NSW Poisons List, which is proclaimed under Section 8 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966, and clause 128P of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation, adopt the ten Schedules of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP or Poisons Standard) as in force at any time.

Use the searchable on-line Poisons Standard (SUSMP) to see which Schedule, if any, a substance is classified in NSW. The SUSMP index includes many common synonyms for medicines and poisons, making it easier to find out if a substance or product is a scheduled medicine or poison.

For the purposes of determining the scheduling of a substance or the meaning of a reference to a substance in a schedule of the Poisons List, the definitions, other interpretation provisions and Appendices of the current SUSMP apply.

The entries are for substances (not for particular products which include the substances). In the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act, "substance" is defined to include preparation, admixture and all salts and derivatives. Note that the term “derivative” (page v of the SUSMP) has a broader meaning than that of the same term used in chemistry.

However, scheduled substances when contained in certain products are exempt; these are shown in Appendix A of the SUSMP. Some entries are chemical or pharmacological group entries; many but not all common synonyms are in the Index of the SUSMP.

Where a preparation containing multiple drugs/poisons is in two or more Schedules, the more or most restrictive Schedule applies (i.e. in order of Schedule 9, 10, 8, 4, 7, 3, 2, 6, 5).

The absence of a substance from the Schedules does not imply that there is no legal restriction on its possession, supply, labelling, packaging or use. Other restrictions may apply under other State and Commonwealth legislation,  e.g.

  • The Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act and Regulations  - prohibited drugs, prohibited plants, illicit drug precursors and reagents, substances in Schedule 9 of the SUSMP and other psychoactive substances
  • Dangerous Goods legislation
  • SafeWork Australia national code for labelling of workplace substances
  • Competition and Consumer legislation
  • Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Act
  • National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)
  • NSW and Commonwealth Food regulations; and
  • Customs prohibited imports and exports regulations.

Inclusion of a substance in a Schedule does not imply that it is available, approved or effective for any use mentioned in the Schedule entry, nor does it negate any obligation to register a therapeutic good, agricultural or veterinary product with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) or Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) respectively.

Certain scheduled substances have restrictions and requirements additional to those applying generally to substances in that Schedule:  Refer to clauses 20, 24, 37, 52, 60, 65, 84, 90, 92, 98, 101, 122 and 123, Part 4A and Appendices A, B and D of the Regulation, and also Appendices E, F and K of the SUSMP.

Page Updated: Friday 10 November 2017