Submission to the 2013 Review of Medicines and Poisons Scheduling Arrangements - Simon Robinson - Appointed member of ACCS

The submission period for this review commenced on 2 April 2013.

Page last updated: 25 April 2013

Summary

As a member of ACCS I find the administrative process as it involves the advisory committee satisfactory, although the pre-meeting documentation provided to members could usefully be reduced. Ad hoc teleconferences between the scheduled meetings could speed up the process for straightforward considerations. The advice given by the committee is generally appropriately conservative and is balanced by the prerogative of the Secretary’s Delegate to act contrary to the advice given. I consider it important from the point of view of flexibility that this prerogative of the Delegate be retained.

Specific areas you may wish to address

System of access controls for goods containing scheduled substances

Section 52E Secretary to take certain matters into account in exercising powers

  1. Are the matters to which the Secretary must have regard when amending the Poisons Standard appropriately described and effective? If not, what amendments would you suggest?
    Yes

  2. Is the process whereby the Secretary has regard to the Scheduling Policy Framework, the recommendations or advice by the ACMS and/or ACCS or another relevant committee or expert clear and transparent? If not, how could the arrangements be improved?
    Yes

  3. Is the Scheduling Policy Framework helpful in understanding the application and review process? If not, what amendments would you suggest?
    Yes

Outcomes of administration

52A Definition

  1. Does the definition of ‘substance’ appropriately reflect the substances that may be considered for scheduling by the Secretary and which the committees may consider and advise the Secretary on? If not, how should the definition be amended? What would be the material impact on your organisation if it were to be amended in this way
    Definition is satisfactory.

Section 52B and Section 52C and Section 52CA Functions of the ACMS and ACCS and associated Regulations

  1. Are the establishment, functions and membership of the ACMS and/or ACCS appropriately described in the Act? If not, how could they be better described? What would be the material impact on your organisation if the Act were amended in this way?
    Yes

  2. Have the new arrangements for the ACMS and/or ACCS met the objective to provide for more flexible, efficient and effective operation of the scheduling of substances? Have the objectives of the amendments been met?
    More flexible because of the delegate’s prerogative to exercise discretion.

  3. Have any areas of operation become less flexible, efficient and effective compared with the former NDPSC decision making model? Please provide examples to illustrate your points
    Not that I am aware of. The (appropriately) conservative nature of the advice that is usually given is balanced by the Delegate’s prerogative to act contrary to that advice.

  4. In terms of the operation of the committees do you have any suggestions how the arrangements can be improved?
    The pre-determined meeting schedule of the Advisory Committee provides clarity of the process for applicants, but it might be possible for more straightforward and unchallenged applications or amendments to be considered by ad hoc teleconference of the committee between fixed dates, thus hastening the process. Pre-meeting documentation is often very lengthy and repetitive – abbreviated documentation has been discussed and is being implemented, I understand.

Section 52D Amendments to the Poisons Standard and associated Regulations

  1. Is the process by which the Secretary makes amendments to the Poisons Standard appropriately described and effective? If not, what amendments would you suggest?
    Yes

  2. Is the process whereby the Secretary makes amendments to the Poisons Standard clear and transparent? If not, how could the arrangements be improved?
    Yes