Legislative requirements for dispensing a psychostimulant in NSW

The following substances must not be supplied by a pharmacist unless the authority reference number is shown on the prescription (in accordance with clause 90 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008):

  • dexamfetamine
  • lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse®)
  • methylphenidate (Concerta®, Ritalin®, Ritalin LA®).

Note: An authority issued to a prescriber by the NSW Ministry of Health is separate to an authority required from Medicare Australia for a patient to receive a PBS subsidised medicine.

A medical practitioner may only prescribe a psychostimulant with the prior approval of the NSW Ministry of Health. All prescriptions written for dexamfetamine, methylphenidate or lisdexamfetamine, presented for dispensing must be endorsed with one of the following:

CNS ********** (i.e. unique number for prescriber), or

S28c ********** (i.e. unique number for prescriber), or

Ref. No. AU ****** (i.e. unique number for prescriber specific for each patient).

A prescription for a psychostimulant that is not endorsed with one of the above numbers cannot lawfully be dispensed, and the prescriber should be contacted to confirm the authority reference number.

These requirements apply to all prescriptions for psychostimulants, including compounded prescriptions, private prescriptions and prescriptions written interstate. 

Exemptions for prescribing to a hospital inpatient

In a hospital, an exemption to obtaining a NSW Health authority applies for the prescribing (either on a prescription or on a medication chart) of any registered Schedule 8 medication to an inpatient for a period of up to 14 days following admission, if the medication is being initiated in the hospital.

Following this 14 day period the prescriber must hold or obtain the necessary authority from Pharmaceutical Regulatory Unit in the particular circumstance as detailed above to provide for the continuing treatment of the patient with the Schedule 8 medication and endorse the prescription as above.

In a hospital, an exemption to obtaining a NSW Health authority also applies for the prescribing of any Schedule 8 medicine for a hospital inpatient who was, immediately prior to his/her admission, being treated with that medicine under a NSW authority.

If a prescription is written under one of these exemptions, there will be no authority number shown on the prescription.  When the authority number is not shown on a prescription for a Schedule 8 psychostimulant, a pharmacist must confirm with the prescriber that the prescription has been written under this exemption, and should make and keep a note of the advice from the prescriber. If not written under this exemption, a pharmacist cannot dispense a prescription for a Schedule 8 psychostimulant if the authority number is not shown on the prescription.

Page Updated: Monday 10 December 2018
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services