Published: 17 March 2021


Reclassification of Pholcodine


At the 64th meeting of the Medicines Classification (MCC) held on 9 July 2020, a recommendation was made to reclassify pholcodine from pharmacy only medicine to a restricted (pharmacist only) medicine. Five valid objections were received therefore the recommendation was reviewed again at the 65th meeting, held on 27 October 2020. The Committee reaffirmed their recommendation and suggested that the implementation of the pholcodine classification to be similar to that undertaken with the codeine reclassification. This means an extended implementation time where Medsafe will work with sponsors and pharmacies to transition to the new classification.

The rationale behind the recommendation and finalised minutes for the 64th and 65th meetings can be found on the MCC Minutes webpage.

To date

Due to the changes proposed to the classification of pholcodine, Medsafe requires time to seek advice on any barriers to implementation.

The current classification of pholcodine will remain unchanged until a notice is published in the New Zealand Gazette.

Any updates on the reclassification of pholcodine will be published on the Medsafe website

Medsafe will be working with stakeholder groups to implement this change. At this stage we do not see this change coming into effect before or during this coming cough and cold season.

Contact details

For further information about the reclassification of pholcodine, please contact the Secretary of the Medicines Classification Committee (email:

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