Containers for medicines and poisons

Containers used to store medicines and poisons must meet uniform Australian Standards. This is important to prevent damage, leakage of the contents and inadvertent poisoning. Containers must have certain properties and appearance, protect against breakage and be child proof.

Containers for poisons

Poisons must be stored, supplied and transported in containers that comply with Part 2 of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP) (external site).

A feature of containers for poisons is the presence of tactile identification. For Schedule 6 poisons this comprises the word “poison”and ribs on the side of the container or the word “poison” embossed on the shoulder of the container.

The SUSMP includes a list of Schedule 5 and Schedule 6 poisons that require child resistant closures and detailed information about the packaging of particular poisons, such as naphthalene (moth balls).

Poison containers must be readily distinguishable from containers used for food and drink.

Registered pesticides will be supplied in packaging approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

Containers for medicines (including veterinary drugs)

Medicines must be stored, supplied and transported in containers that comply with Part 2 of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP) (external site).

Most medicines will be supplied to pharmacies and health care facilities in packaging approved by the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Veterinary drugs will be supplied in packaging approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

Schedule 8 medicines must be supplied by manufacturers and wholesalers in containers that are sealed in a way which ensures unopened packs can be readily distinguished from opened packs.

Containers for medicines supplied to patients

Wherever possible, medicines should be supplied to patients in the manufacturer’s original packaging. This is particularly important for Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 medicines where the manufacturer’s packaging includes warnings and dosing instructions.

If a part-pack must be supplied, a health professional must not supply in a paper or plastic bag, envelope or a cardboard box unless the medicine is also strip or blister packaged. Where the manufacturer’s original pack includes a child resistant closure (CRC), the medicine should also be supplied to patients with a CRC in place.

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