Buying and selling medicines

There are restrictions over who may purchase and supply Scheduled medicines in Western Australia. These vary according to the Schedule classification of the medicines itself.

Schedule 2 medicines

Schedule 2 (S2) medicines can only be sold by retail by pharmacies and licenced S2 retailers. The sale to a person, or their agent (such as a parent or carer), needs to be therapeutically appropriate, and the amount supplied reasonable for the circumstances.

An authorised health professional may supply a S2 medicine as part of a consultation with a patient.

Licensed pharmaceutical wholesalers may supply S2 medicines to an authorised health professional or the holder of a valid permit or licence.

Schedule 3 medicines

Only a pharmacy can supply Schedule 3 (S3) medicines by retail sale. The sale to a person, or their agent (such as a parent or carer), needs to be therapeutically appropriate, and the amount supplied reasonable for the circumstances.

Schedule 3 retail sales must be personally supervised by a pharmacist or by a pharmacy intern or technician under the personal supervision of a pharmacist.

An authorised health professional may supply a S3 medicine as part of a consultation with a patient.

Licensed pharmaceutical wholesalers may supply by wholesale S3 medicines to an authorised health professional or holder of a valid permit or licence.

Restricted Schedule 3 medicines

The only restricted Schedule 3 (S3) medicine currently is pseudoephedrine.

Restricted  S3 medicines can only be sold by retail from a pharmacy. In addition to the standard requirements for supply of S3 medicines, for restricted S3 items the identity of the purchaser must be known to the pharmacist, pharmacy intern or technician. If purchaser not known, then photographic ID is required. Restricted S3 medicines supplied must be labelled and the sale be recorded. 

Schedule 4 medicines

Schedule 4 medicines (S4) may only be supplied by a pharmacy when dispensing a valid prescription for a patient or agent or animal. The pharmacist must reasonably believe the supply is for the legitimate therapeutic use of the patient or animal.

An authorised health professional may supply a S4 medicine as part of a consultation with a patient.

Licensed pharmaceutical wholesalers may supply S4 medicines to an authorised health professional or holder of a valid permit or licence.

A pharmacist may supply a S4 medicine to an authorised health professional:

  • on receipt of a written request from the health professional that specifies the medicine, strength, form and quantity required; and
  • if satisfied the supply is necessary for lawful practice of the health professional's lawful practice.

A record must be made of all supplies of S4 medicines, kept for 2 years and produced for inspection when requested by the Department of Health.

Schedule 8 medicines

Schedule 8 (S8) medicines may only be supplied by a pharmacy dispensing a valid prescription for a patient or agent or animal. The pharmacist must reasonably believe the supply is for the legitimate therapeutic use of the patient or animal.

Licensed pharmaceutical wholesalers may supply S8 medicines to an authorised health professional or holder of a valid permit or licence.

A pharmacist may supply a S4 medicine to an authorised health professional:

  • on receipt of a written request from the health professional that specifies the medicine, strength, form and quantity required; and
  • if satisfied the supply is necessary for lawful practice of the health professional's lawful practice.

A record must be made of all supplies of S8 medicines, kept for 5 years and produced for inspection when requested by the Department of Health. A register of all S8 transactions must also be kept.

More information

Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch
Mailing address: PO Box 8172, Perth Business Centre, WA 6849
Phone: 9222 6883
Email: poisons@health.wa.gov.au