Drugs licensing

Companies and individuals in England, Wales or Scotland need to apply for Home Office licences if they wish to produce, supply, possess, import or export controlled drugs.

Latest on this topic

  • Exporting phenylacetic acid
    From 28 March, those wishing to export phenylacetic acid to a non-EU country will need to apply for an export license. Exports of category 2 and 3 precursor chemicals to Afghanistan, Australia and Ghana will now require an export licences for all shipments. Please see the new March 2011 wall chart.
  • Annual statistical returns due by 31 January 2011
    The annual statistical returns process for both controlled drugs and precursor chemicals for the year ending 31 December 2010 is now available 
  • Drugs licensing and compliance unit online applications site
    As of 1 January 2011, the drugs licensing and compliance unit will be introducing a new import and export processing system NDS. Over the next four months (until 1 May 2011), there will be a phased roll-out for all companies that work with controlled drugs and precursor chemicals for the purposes of import and export. Companies will need to register on the online applications site.

Consultation on charges for controlled drug licences and precursor chemical licences, registrations, and authorisations

The Home Office has now carefully considered the responses received to this consultation and has published a summary of responses. The impact assessment has been updated to show the government’s decision on its preferred option and to take account of amendments to the options. Having analysed the responses, the government has decided to introduce fees and limit the validity of domestic licences to one year.

You can read the summary of responses and the updated impact assessment.

The Home Office drugs licensing unit is the UK's competent authority for the purposes of the United Nations conventions on controlled drugs. We issue licenses for those who work with controlled drugs, including:

  • companies and other organisations that intend to work with controlled drugs and precursor chemicals 
  • doctors prescribing certain drugs to addicts
  • people taking their prescribed controlled drugs abroad
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