Importing chemicals

Before an agricultural or veterinary (agvet) chemical product can be legally imported, supplied, sold, promoted or advertised in Australia, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) must register it (subject to certain exceptions).

Section 69B of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992 makes it an offence to import or arrange for importation, into Australia the following: an active constituent for an agvet chemical product that is neither approved nor exempt; or, an agvet chemical product that is not registered, reserved, or exempt.

Risks of unapproved chemical products

The APVMA assesses registered agricultural and veterinary chemical products for the safety and efficacy of those active constituents when in the registered formulation. Unapproved active constituents or chemical products have not been through the APVMA’s rigorous assessment process.

Unapproved agricultural chemical products may have labels with different instructions for use, which may affect the safety or efficacy of the product. Unapproved labels may have different units of measure or omit appropriate first aid and safety instructions or may lack withholding periods or other instructions which may affect Australia’s trade.

You should never give medications intended for animals to humans.

Ensuring compliance with the legislation

Part of the APVMA’s role is to monitor and enforce compliance in the marketplace with the regulatory requirements relating to agvet chemical products and to help manufacturers, importers and suppliers of agvet chemicals to be aware of and have an understanding of these regulatory requirements.

We work closely with state and territory governments to ensure there is effective coordination and communication of monitoring and compliance efforts. We also work with the Australian Border Force to intercept illegal imports of agvet chemicals.

You can view compliance and enforcement outcomes on our website.

The APVMA recognises the value of information provided by the community, and facilitates online and 'free-call' reporting of suspected non-compliance. More information about how to report suspected non-compliance is available on our website.

More information

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has further information about the risks to people of self-dosing with unapproved products or unapproved treatments.

The APVMA may authorise the importation of unregistered and unapproved agricultural and veterinary chemicals where necessary.

Additional information about the responsibilities of importers and suppliers is available online.

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