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How long is a prescription valid for?

Posted by Be Well

How long is a prescription valid for?
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A prescription is valid for six months from the date given on the prescription, with the exception of prescriptions for controlled drugs.

The date on the prescription can be either:

  • the date the prescription is signed by the health professional who issues it, or
  • a date the health professional indicates the prescription should not be dispensed before.

Where a prescription has both of these dates, the six months runs from the later of the two dates.

Repeatable prescriptions

Repeatable prescriptions that contain directions that the same prescription may be dispensed more than once must be dispensed for the first time within six months of the date given on the prescription. After this, the repeat prescription can continue to be valid beyond six months in accordance with the directions on the prescription.

Controlled drugs

Controlled drugs are drugs such as morphine, pethidine and methadone. These medicines are often misused, so have stricter legal controls on their supply to prevent them being obtained illegally.

A prescription for a controlled drug is valid for 28 days from the date given on the prescription.

If you have a prescription for a controlled drug that directs that the drug should be dispensed to you in a number of instalments, the first instalment must be dispensed within 28 days of the date on the prescription.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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