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Publications

Published:  10 December 2015

Have Your Say on the Classification of Medicines

Prescriber Update 36(4): 48
December 2015

Key Messages

  • The Medicines Classification Committee makes recommendations to the Minister of Health on the classification of medicines.
  • Your comments are valuable to the Committee decision making process.
  • To sign up to receive regular emails that will let you know when and how to comment, email committees@moh.govt.nz with 'MCC - Subscribe' in the subject line.


The Medicines Classification Committee (MCC) is a Ministerial advisory committee that makes recommendations to the Minister of Health regarding access to medicines. The MCC advises whether a medicine should be classified as prescription, restricted (pharmacist-only) or pharmacy-only. Secretarial support for the MCC is provided by Medsafe.

The usual progression is for medicines to be 'down-scheduled' (eg, prescription to restricted) as more market experience is gained and post-marketing surveillance provides a clearer picture of safety. Medicines suitable to be 'down-scheduled' are for conditions or symptoms that can be diagnosed and managed by a pharmacist or patient. However, medicines can sometimes be reclassified to a more restricted classification or 'up-scheduled' (eg, restricted to prescription).

Submissions for reclassification to the MCC usually come from pharmaceutical companies. However, anyone can make a submission. It takes approximately six months to change the legal classification of a medicine in New Zealand.

The closing date for submissions is at the end of January and July each year. Following this, the agenda for the meeting is published on the Medsafe website (www.medsafe.govt.nz). The submissions for reclassification are also published for public consultation. The consultation period lasts approximately six weeks. Any interested parties may comment on reclassification submissions during this time.

Further details on the MCC and the classification process can be found on the Medsafe website (www.medsafe.govt.nz/committees/mcc.asp).

To sign up to receive regular emails that will let you know when and how to comment on submissions for reclassification, email committees@moh.govt.nz with 'MCC - Subscribe' in the subject line. You can also email the MCC Secretary at the same address for any specific queries.

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