Medicines and poisons

A poison is defined as any substance that is included in the Schedules of the Medicine and Poisons Act 2014 & Regulation 2016. The availability of poisons is restricted by the Medicine and Poisons Act 2014 & Regulations 2016 in order to protect public health. Curtin requires a research/education permit to purchase, use and hold certain scheduled poisons. (See Poisons Permits below).

Before conducting research or teaching activities at Curtin, you must identify the hazards inherent in your work, document your safety protocols in a written risk assessment, and seek any approvals you need from Curtin or Government regulatory bodies. To help you understand the regulatory environment that applies to your work with hazardous materials complete the Hazard Identification Tool.

Please contact the Hazardous Materials Office for more information on or assistance with poisons legislation at Curtin:


Poisons schedule definitions

The various poison schedules as defined in section 4 (1) of the Medicines and Poisons Legislation 2014 are:

PoisonsType of substanceComments
2Pharmacy medicinesSubstances, the safe use of which may require advice from a pharmacist and which should be available from a pharmacy or, where a pharmacy service is not available, from a licensed person.
3Pharmacist only medicineSubstances, the safe use of which requires professional advice but which should be available to the public from a pharmacist without a prescription.
4Prescription only medicines, or Prescription Animal RemedySubstances, the use or supply of which should be by or on the order of persons permitted under the Act to prescribe and should be available from a pharmacist on prescription.
5CautionSubstances with a low potential for causing harm, the extent of which can be reduced through the use of appropriate packaging with simple warnings and safety directions on the label.
6PoisonSubstances with a moderate potential for causing harm, the extent of which can be reduced through the use of distinctive packaging with strong warnings and safety directions on the label.
7Dangerous PoisonSubstances with a high potential for causing harm at low exposure and which require special precautions during manufacture, handling or use. These poisons should be available only to specialised or authorised users who have the skills necessary to handle them safely. Special regulations restricting their availability, possession, storage or use may apply.
8Controlled DrugSubstances which should be available for use but require restriction of manufacture, supply distribution, possession and use to reduce abuse misuse and physical or psychological dependence.
9Prohibited substanceSubstances which may be abused or misused, the manufacture possession sale or use of which should be prohibited by law except when required for medical or scientific research, or for analytical, teaching or training purposes with approval of the CEO.

You can also find poisons in Safety Data Sheets under Section 15 – Regulatory Information or by searching the Federal Therapeutic Goods Administrations Poisons Standard.

Poisons permits

Curtin requires a permit to purchase, use and hold poisons in Schedules 2, 3, 4, 7 or 8, while Schedule 9 substances may only be used for certain research and teaching purposes under a separate permit, approved by the Department of Health CEO.

Poison permits and purchase of Poisons should be coordinated through Schools/Departments in order to identify if a suitable permit is already in place or to identify a suitable person to apply for a permit. Permit holders are responsible for ensuring that all permit conditions are met. After discussion with your supervisor, you can download an application form for a permit to purchase poisons for the purpose of research and/or teaching from the Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch website.

Please contact the Hazardous Materials Office for enquiries about new or existing poisons permits. Additionally please provide details of any poisons permit applications, amendments or renewals. An online Medicines and Poisons management system is currently under development.