Legislative basis

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has powers under Part 2, Division 4 of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 (the Agvet Code) to conduct reviews of registered chemicals. In broad terms, these powers include the authority to reconsider the approvals of active constituents and the registration of products and their labels, and to require registrants to provide information. The APVMA can require holders provide relevant information for the reconsideration, when holders are in possession of that information.

The APVMA has powers under Part 2, Division 5 of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 (the Agvet Code) to take action outside the scope of a formal reconsideration. In broad terms, these powers include the authority to suspend or cancel product registrations, active constituent approvals and label approvals in response to holders contravening certain aspects of the Code. The APVMA may also take action when it appears to the APVMA that products, labels or active constituents may no longer meet the statutory criteria, related to safety, efficacy, labelling or trade, set out in section 5 of the Code.

Holders will receive a notice with specific instructions about the regulatory process if their active constituent, product registration, or product label is under review.

Other types of label changes

New scientific information may suggest a change in the risks to human health, the environment, animal or crop safety, or trade for registered products. This information may be in the form of published scientific reports, regulatory changes in international jurisdictions, reports of adverse experiences in Australia or other types of information.

The formal reconsideration process for approvals and registration is outlined in Part 2, Division 4 of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 (the Agvet Code). This process incorporates legislative, administrative and scientific elements that contribute to the final decision to affirm, vary, suspend or cancel an approval or registration. As a result, formal legislative reconsiderations can be complex, have high resource requirements and long timeframes—under legislation implemented in 2014, a reconsideration must be completed within a maximum timeframe of 57 months. For these reasons, the APVMA seeks to address regulatory issues pragmatically by exploring alternative regulatory pathways before deciding to conduct a review.

After undertaking an analysis and/or a risk assessment of the information received the APVMA may choose to take action outside a formal reconsideration to address the risks identified.

Voluntary Cancellations

Holders can choose to voluntarily cancel their active constituent approval, product registration, or label approval at any time by making a written application to the APVMA in accordance with s 42 of the Agvet Code. These voluntary cancellations are published in the Gazette.

To make a request for a voluntary cancellation at the request of the holder, download the form.

Variation with the Consent of the Holder

The relevant particulars or conditions of an active constituent, chemical product, or the label for a chemical product can be varied. This can happen at the request of the holder, or the APVMA may vary on its own initiative with the holder’s consent (in accordance with s 29A of the Agvet Code).

Alternatives to formal reconsideration

Immediate suspension or cancellation

Under s 35A of the Agvet Code, the APVMA may suspend or cancel the registration of a chemical product if the APVMA considers doing so is necessary to prevent imminent risk to people of death, serious injury, or serious disease.

Label review

Under s 41 of the Agvet Code, the APVMA may suspend or cancel the approval of an active constituent for a proposed or existing chemical product, or the product registration, if it appears to the APVMA:

  • for an active constituent—that the constituent may not meet the safety criteria; or
  • for a chemical product—that the product may not meet the safety criteria, the trade criteria or the efficacy criteria; or
  • that the constituent or product may not comply with any requirement prescribed by the regulations.

The APVMA may suspend or cancel the approval of a label for containers for a chemical product if it appears to the APVMA that the label may not meet the labelling criteria or may not comply with any requirement prescribed by the regulations.

Before suspending or cancelling active constituent approval, product registration or label approvals in this situation, the APVMA must notify holders and nominated agents (under s 34P of the Agvet Code) and the states and territories (under s 35 of the Agvet Code) of the proposed regulatory decisions. The APVMA must also invite and consider submissions from holders and nominated agents (under s 34P of the Agvet Code) and the states and territories (under s 35 of the Agvet Code) prior to making a final regulatory decision.

Suspension or cancellation of products and labels under these circumstances may lead to a deemed permit being issued (under s 45B of the Agvet Code) for up to 12 months. The deemed permit may contain instructions for use, possession, custody and supply. However, if the risk is significant, the APVMA may declare that no deemed permit is issued, or it is issued for a shorter duration of less than 12 months.

More information on label reviews can be found on our website.

Interrelated suspensions and cancellations

Under s 44 of the Agvet Code, the APVMA is obligated to (must) or has the option to (may) take interrelated action when it suspends or cancels approvals or registrations.

If the APVMA suspends or cancels the approval of an active constituent, it must also suspend or cancel any product registration for that active constituent.

If the APVMA suspends or cancels the registration of a chemical product, it may also suspend or cancel any approval relating to a label for containers for the product.

If the APVMA suspends or cancels the only approved label, or all the approved labels, for containers of a chemical product, it may also suspend or cancel the product registration.

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