Canterbury DHB


Unregistered Medicines (Section 29, Medicines Act 1981)

Medicines that are not registered in New Zealand by the Ministry of Health may be supplied or administered to patients, provided that it is “on the request of a medical practitioner for the treatment of a particular patient currently under that medical practitioner’s care” (Section 29 Medicines Act 1981). Information about the supply of unregistered medicines is forwarded to the Ministry of Health by the pharmacy and recorded on a database.

To comply with both the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights and the Health Information Privacy Code when prescribing an unregistered medicine, the prescriber should:

Many unregistered medicines are widely used overseas and their use is supported by clinical trials. Others are innovative and little is known about their potential adverse effects. Patients need to be advised of this. Written consent is only required if the use would be considered experimental, i.e. little or no documented support for the use.

The dispensing pharmacy records the details for each unregistered medication dispensed, including the medicine, the prescriber, and the patient's name and address. This information is supplied to the Ministry and recorded on their database. (A patient information leaflet is available regarding unregistered medicines.)

For further information about unregistered medicines, contact the Haematology Pharmacist on pager 8209.

About this Canterbury DHB document (5716):

Document Owner:

Timothy Vincent (see Who's Who)

Last Reviewed:

March 2020

Next Review:

March 2023


Note: Only the electronic version is controlled. Once printed, this is no longer a controlled document. Disclaimer

Topic Code: 5716