Cannabis products for therapeutic use

The Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation is amended effective 1 August 2016. Previously most cannabis products could be supplied only in clinical trials. Now doctors are able to apply for NSW Health authority to prescribe/supply a product, naturally derived from Cannabis, in other circumstances. The prescriber (expected to be a specialist in the management of patients with the disease being treated) must also be approved by the Commonwealth Department of Health to import and/or supply that particular product under the Commonwealth’s Special Access Scheme Category B or “Authorised Prescriber” schemes. The authority will specify the pharmacy or place where the medicine will be supplied. Prescribing, dispensing, recording, storage, supply and destruction must generally comply with the requirements for schedule 8 medicines.

The Schedule 8 synthetic cannabinoids nabilone and dronabinol, although not registered products in Australia, may similarly currently be prescribed only if the prescriber (expected to be a specialist in the management of patients with the disease being treated) is authorised  by NSW Health.

More information 


Improved access to naloxone injection

To reduce deaths by opioid overdose, clients who attend drug and alcohol clinics and needle and syringe programs in St Vincent’s Health Network and five Local Health Districts (South Eastern Sydney, Sydney, Western Sydney, Hunter New England and Murrumbidgee) can access a take home naloxone injection kit. The Medically Supervised Injecting Centre also provides the kits to clients.
Over 200 health workers were trained and credentialed to provide the kits and a brief intervention to clients on managing opioid overdose in the community as part of the Overdose Response and Take Home Naloxone Project, led by Professor Nick Lintzeris and funded by a NSW Health Transitional Research Grant.
The credentialed health workers are authorised to supply naloxone by means of a legal instrument.
Naloxone is also available on prescription by a doctor or by consulting with a community pharmacist.

New authority reference number

NSW Health has implemented a new authority software system. In the new system the NSW Health prescribing authority number (a six digit –month - year reference number) has been replaced by a unique number prefixed with AU.
The new authority numbers are in the format AU56234.
The requirement for an authority reference number to appear on prescriptions applies to prescribing of dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine and methylphenidate where the prescriber is not generally authorised (ie approved psychiatrists and paediatricians practitioners issued with a CNS or s28c number) and Schedule 8 compounded medicines.
However where the prescriber is generally authorised, an additional authority number is not required for compounded dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine and methylphenidate.

Electronic National Residential Medication Chart Trials

Approval to trial electronic forms of the National Residential Medication Chart (an eNRMC) at specific residential care facilities (RCFs) and community pharmacies has been issued to the following software vendors:

  • Best Health Solutions
  • Medi-Map
  • Webstercare

Use of the eNRMC must comply with the National Health (Electronic National Residential Medication Chart Trial) Special Arrangement 2018. Only the RCFs and community pharmacies in the Schedule of the Special Arrangement may use an eNRMC.

Under the NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 electronic prescribing on an eNRMC can be used:

  • as a form of prescription for pharmacist dispensing, and
  • as a form of medication chart order to direct administration by RCF staff.

This applies to all medicines prescribed for RCF residents (that is, PBS and non-PBS).

Page Updated: Tuesday 16 July 2019
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services