Licences and permits under the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014

Who needs a licence or permit?

Businesses that sell medicines and poisons by wholesale or retail require a licence under the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014.

Poisons in Schedule 5 (labelled Caution) and Schedule 6 (labelled Poison) can be sold without a licence. Retail pharmacies do not need a licence because they are already licensed under the Pharmacy Act 2010.

Those wanting to use Schedule 7 poisons (also known as Dangerous Poisons) for their work will usually need a permit to be able to purchase these poisons. There are some exceptions – for example, farmers and pastoralists can purchase most registered agricultural pesticides in Schedule 7 for use on their property without requiring a permit.

Those using medicines and poisons in research and educational settings will also need a permit to be able to purchase these substances.

Healthcare facilities will need a permit if they want to hold an imprest of medicines and will be purchasing medicines for use by all health practitioners at the business. Individual medical practitioners do not need a permit for their doctor’s bag supplies.

Permits allow purchase of the substances listed on the permit from a licensed supplier and storage at the premises listed on the permit. Permits do not allow resale and will be issued for a specified use. Permits may be issued for a single chemical, such as hydrofluoric acid for cleaning stainless steel welds, or for a range of substances, such as all medicines in Schedules 2, 3, 4 and 8 at a hospital.

Licences and permits can be issued to an individual on behalf of a business, to a partnership or to a company. Assessment of applications will include review of the qualifications and experience of the applicant and checks on the way the medicines and poisons will be handled, sometimes including an inspection of the premises.

The Department runs an audit program to assess existing licences and permits for compliance with the legislation and any special conditions on the licence or permit.

Licence types

Wholesaler’s/manufacturer’s licence

This licence allows the business to manufacture and/or sell medicines and poisons by wholesale to authorised purchasers, such as businesses with a permit.

Indent licence

This licence allows the business to sell medicines or poisons via a third party. Those holding an indent licence do not physically handle the medicines or poisons. Licensees need the skills to assess whether their clients are authorised to purchase medicines or poisons.

Schedule 7 retail licence

This licence allows the business to sell Schedule 7 poisons to those authorised to purchase them. Most Schedule 7 retail licences are issued for supply of agricultural chemicals.

Schedule 2 retail licence

This licence allows businesses located in rural and remote areas to sell Schedule 2 medicines, which would normally only be available for consumers to purchase from pharmacies. These licences will be issued where the business is more than 25 km from the nearest community pharmacy.

Permit types

Health Service permit

This permit is for purchase of medicines by health services such as medical practices, private hospitals and businesses providing health care to remote worksites. There are also permits for public hospitals and other public sector agencies providing health services.

Government permit

This permit is for purchase of medicines or poisons by government departments for operational work or research and education.

Industrial permit

This permit is for purchase of poisons by businesses for industrial type uses. These permits are mainly issued for Schedule 7 poisons such as hydrofluoric acid, chlorine gas and cyanide.

Pharmaceutical samples permit

This permit allows representatives of pharmaceutical companies to store and carry samples and provide them to authorised health professionals, such as medical practitioners.

Research/education permit

This permit is for purchase of medicines or poisons for education or research, such as at a school or university.

Stockfeed manufacture permit

This permit allows stockfeed manufacturers to purchase antibiotics to mix into stockfeed, on the order of a veterinary surgeon.

Veterinary practice permit

This permit is for purchase of veterinary drugs by veterinary clinics and hospitals. Mobile vets also require this type of permit.

Applying for a licence or permit

Complete the relevant Licence or Permit Application Form to apply for a licence or permit.

All applicants, including business partners and corporate officers, must complete a Personal Information Form: Identification, Fitness and Probity (Word 1.6MB).

Application fees include a non-refundable application fee and an annual licence/permit fee. Licences and permits are issued for a period of one year from the date of issue.

Changes to current licences and permits should be made using the relevant amendment form.  Some changes may incur a fee. 

Renewing your licence or permit

If you have a current licence or permit, a renewal form will be posted to you approximately two months before it is due to expire.

To renew your licence or permit you must return the completed and signed form to the Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch and pay the renewal fee. Fees can be paid by BPay or BPOINT. BPOINT payments (external site) can be made using a Mastercard or Visa credit card.

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