Medicines control

Medicines Control is a regulatory team within the Ministry of Health (formerly situated in Medsafe) that oversees the local distribution chain of medicines and controlled drugs within New Zealand.

The team issues licences and authorities, undertakes drug abuse containment activities and monitors compliance with legislation; in particular, the Medicines Act 1981, Medicines Regulations 1984, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977. The Director-General of Health has delegated certain legislated powers and functions to Medicines Control.

The Team Leader of Medicine Control is designated Licensing Authority for all licences issued under the above legislation (except licences to manufacture and licences to pack medicines). For information relating to these two licences please refer to the Medsafe website.

Medicines Control Contacts

In this section

  • Prescribing of controlled drugs is more tightly controlled than prescribing of other medicines, reflecting the need to restrict access to, and minimise the misuse of, controlled drugs. Read more
  • Drug abuse containment activities are carried out by Medicines Control staff in conjunction with two Medical Officers of Health who have wide powers under both the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and the Medicines Act 1981. Read more
  • In order to grow, trade in, or process industrial hemp as an agricultural crop an individual, body corporate, or partnership needs to be licensed under the Misuse of Drugs (Industrial Hemp) Regulations 2006. Read more
  • Information on bringing medicines, including controlled drugs, into New Zealand, and commercial importing and exporting Read more
  • The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Regulations 2017 allow some products containing cannabidiol (CBD) to be prescribed without first requiring Ministerial approval, and remove some other restrictions. Read more
  • Information on applying for a licence to operate a pharmacy, new pharmacy premises, and the requirements for pharmacy ownership. Read more
  • The term cannabis-based products encompasses several types of products containing extracts of the cannabis plant that may be used to treat various medical conditions. Read more
  • Information and updates about the proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill. Read more
  • Publications relating to medicine control activities in New Zealand. Read more
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