Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons
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The Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons, abbreviated SUSMP, is a document used in the regulation of drugs and poisons in Australia. It is produced by the National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee (NDPSC), a committee of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The SUSMP contains the decisions of the NDPSC in the aim of standardising the scheduling and packaging/labelling of substances throughout Australia, where such regulation lies within the jurisdiction of the individual State governments. The SUSMP is only a recommendation to the States, however, and differences still exist in the regulation of drugs and poisons between Australian states.
There are eight schedules included in the SUSMP:
Schedule 1 (Defunct)
This schedule is no longer used. Section 8(2) of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW) describes Schedule 1 as, "substances which are of such extreme danger to life as to warrant their being supplied only by medical practitioners, nurse practitioners authorised...pharmacists, dentists, veterinary surgeons or persons licensed.
Schedule 2 Pharmacy Medicine
Schedule 2 (S2) drugs and poisons, otherwise known as Pharmacy Medicines, are substances and preparations for therapeutic use that:
- Are substantially safe in use but where advice or counseling is available if necessary
- Are for minor ailments or symptoms that:
- Can be easily recognised by the consumer
- Do not require medical diagnosis or management
- Simple analgesics such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen in packs containing more than 24 tablets (packs containing up to 24 tablets of simple analgesics are unscheduled, and can be sold in any shop)
- Nonsedating antihistamines
- Nasal sprays containing decongestants or steroids
The location of these medications in the pharmacy varies from state to state.
Schedule 3 Pharmacist Only Medicine
Schedule 3 (S3) drugs and poisons, otherwise known as Pharmacist Only Medicines, are substances and preparations for therapeutic use that:
- Are substantially safe in use but require professional advice or counselling by a pharmacist
- Require pharmacist advice, management, or monitoring
- Are for ailments or symptoms that:
- Can be identified by the consumer and verified by a pharmacist
- Do not require medical diagnosis, or only require initial medical diagnosis, and do not require close medical management
Some states have subsets of Schedule 3 with additional requirements (see below). Only some Schedule 3 medicines may be advertised to the public.
Schedule 4 prescription only medicine/prescription animal remedy
Schedule 4 (S4) drugs and poisons, otherwise known as prescription only medicines, are substances and preparations for therapeutic use that:
- Requires professional medical, dental, or veterinary management or monitoring
- Are for ailments or symptoms that require professional medical, dental, or veterinary diagnosis or management
- May require further evaluation for safety or efficacy
- Are new therapeutic substances
- No drugs under schedule 4 need to be authorised by the health department
- Your doctor may call the health department to get a drug approved that is not listed on the (P.B.S) so you can get that drug on a (P.B.S)
- Price' not all drugs can be authorised for the (P.B.S)
No drugs under schedule 4 need to be authorised by the health department Some states have subsets of Schedule 4 with additional requirements (see below). Schedule 4 medicines cannot be advertised directly to the public. The above PBS data is not accurate. The Australian Pharmacuetical Benefits Scheme (PBS), is a list of drugs subsidised by the Australian Federal Government. S4 scripts are almost ALWAYS PBS, with phone authority needed for incresed amounts, or multiple repeats. The individual state the drug is in governs that drug i.e. S4, S8 etc, the PBS is about the cost of the medicine and is federal. Again, the individual states legislate independently re drug dangers and harm/abuse issues.
- Co-codamol preparations comprising 16–30 mg codeine per 500 mg paracetamol,
- All benzodiazepines except flunitrazepam
- Pseudoephedrine in large doses
Schedule 5 Caution
Schedule 5 (S5) drugs and poisons are substances and preparations that:
- Have low toxicity or a low concentration
- Have a low to moderate hazard
- Can cause only minor adverse effects to human being in normal use
- Require caution in handling, storage, or use
Schedule 6 Poison
Schedule 6 (S6) drugs and poisons are substances and preparations:
- With moderate to high toxicity
- Which may cause death or severe injury if ingested, inhaled, or in contact with skin or eyes
Schedule 7 Dangerous Poison
Schedule 7 (S7) drugs and poisons are substances and preparations that:
- Have high to extremely high toxicity
- Can cause death or severe injury at low exposures
- Require special precautions in their manufacture, handling, or use
- May require special regulations restricting their availability, possession or use
- Are too hazardous for domestic use, or use by untrained persons
All drugs that are schedule 8 must be approved by the health department at the time of writing a prescription for that drug; the prescriptions must be written by hand and not printed.
- Barbiturates (most)
- Codeine (single ingredient)
Schedule 9 Prohibited Substance
Schedule 9 (S9) drugs and poisons are substances and preparations that, by law, may only be used for research purposes. The sale, distribution, use, and manufacture of such substances is strictly prohibited by law.
- Salvia divinorum
Unscheduled substances do not belong to any of the above schedules. Many of these preparations are also sold in supermarkets in addition to pharmacies.
- Ranitidine in small packs (larger packs are schedule 2)
- Ibuprofen 200 mg in small packs (<24; larger packs are schedule 2)
- Paracetamol 500 mg in small packs (<24; larger packs are schedule 2)
- Some laxatives (e.g. bulk laxatives Metamucil)
- Lubricant eye drops
- Nicotine replacement therapy (some preparations are schedule 2)
New South Wales
In New South Wales, poisons are proclaimed in the Poisons List by the Poisons Advisory Committee, under the authority of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW). NSW legislation refers to S2 as "medicinal poisons", S3 as "potent substances", S4 as "restricted substances" and S8 as "drugs of addiction".
Schedule 3 Recordable
Schedule 3 Recordable (S3R), or "recordable potent substances", refers to Pharmacist Only Medicines where supply is recorded as for Schedule 4 drugs. S3R drugs are those that may have an increased risk of illegal diversion or abuse. These are specified in Clause 23 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2002 (NSW). As of January 2006, all pseudoephedrine-containing preparations are S3R.
Schedule 4 Appendix D
Schedule 4, Appendix D (S4D) refers to Prescription Only Medicines that do not have sufficient addictiveness or risk of abuse to be classified as S8, but for which a significant addiction/abuse risk exists. As such, S4D drugs are subject to additional prescription and recording requirements over S4. These drugs are referred to as "prescribed restricted substances" under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2002 (NSW) and are listed in Appendix D of the Regulation. Drugs included in Appendix D include benzodiazepines and anabolic steroids. A subset of Appendix D are the Appendix B substances, which are subject to similar requirements as S8 drugs.
Recordable S3 products (Schedule G)
In South Australia, supply of certain S3 preparations listed in Schedule G of the Controlled Substances (Poisons) Regulations 1996 (SA) are recordable under Regulation 14(2). As of 2006, Schedule G products specified are: adrenaline (in metered aerosols), dihydrocodeine (in cough preparations), doxylamine (in preparations also containing codeine), promethazine (in preparations also containing codeine), and pseudoephedrine.
Recordable S3 products (Appendix J)
In Western Australia, supply of certain S3 preparations listed in Appendix J of the Poisons Regulations 1965 (WA) are recordable under Regulation 35A. As of 2006, Appendix J products specified are: hydrocortisone, hydrocortisone acetate, pseudoephedrine, and nicotine preparations were included in Schedule 3.
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