Published: 7 June 2019


Medicines classification update: November 2018

Prescriber Update 40(2): 35-36
June 2019

There were a number of medicine classification changes recommended at the 61st meeting of the Medicines Classification Committee (MCC) held on 2 November 2018.

The following substances were reclassified.

  • Modified release paracetamol containing up to 665 mg per dosage form is now a pharmacist-only medicine.
  • Dextromethorphan-containing medicines are now pharmacist-only or prescription medicines. Dextromethorphan is no longer legally available for sale as a pharmacy-only or a general sale medicine.
  • Opium tincture and squill oxymel (in combination known as Gees linctus) is now a prescription medicine.

The MCC considered two proposals to amend the classification statement for melatonin and recommended that melatonin prolonged release 2 mg tablets and 3 mg tablets should be classified as ‘prescription except when’ with the following conditions:

  • supplied for the treatment of primary insomnia for adults aged 55 years or older for up to 13 weeks
  • by a NZ registered pharmacist who has completed an approved training programme in mental health and insomnia
  • in a pack that has received consent from the Minister of Health or the Director-General.

This recommendation has not yet been confirmed by the Minister’s Delegate.

The MCC considered a proposal to amend the classification of pholcodine and recommended that it should remain unchanged.

More information

The Medsafe website has information on the classification process and minutes of the MCC meetings. See also the Medsafe Files article in this edition of Prescriber Update.

You can search the classification database to check the classification of an active ingredient.

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