2017 December - Requirements for computer generated prescriptions

The Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 provides that a veterinary practitioner may issue non-handwritten or computer generated prescriptions for an S4 restricted substance or an S8 restricted substance.

A computer generated prescription is one that has any information (except for the veterinarian’s address and contact details) printed rather than handwritten. Elements of the prescription which may be computer generated differ for S4 and S8 prescriptions. 

Detailed requirements with examples are described in Criteria for Issuing Non-Handwritten (Computer Generated) Prescriptions (TG184).

Please also note the following:

  1. Computer generated prescriptions must be saved to the patient’s file and retained for at least 3 years
  2. There must be a unique identifying number for the computer generated prescription such as a unique visit number
  3. The medical record must clearly indicate when a prescription was issued rather than the medicine being supplied by the veterinarian
  4. All prescriptions must include the veterinarian’s registration number next to their signature.

General requirements for handwritten prescriptions are provided in the Guide to Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Legislation for Veterinary Practitioners (TG74/14).

If you are unsure of the requirements for either handwritten or computer generated prescriptions please contact the Board or NSW Health Duty Pharmaceutical Officer 02 9391 9944.


A prescription can only be filled by a registered pharmacist and cannot be filled by another veterinarian. 

Veterinarians are however able to supply medication on the written authority of another veterinarian. In contrast to a prescription the written authority allows a veterinarian named in the authority to supply medication to a client on behalf of another veterinarian.

This written authority may be given by email, facsimile or letter from one veterinarian (who has examined the animal or has the animal under his or her direct care) to another veterinarian. Both veterinarians must maintain a record of this written authority for at least 3 years.

As for a prescription, the written authority must include the date; name and address of the client; name and species of the animal; name, strength and quantity of drug; and adequate directions for use.