Make the most of the PBS
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) gives all Australians and eligible visitors access to more than 2600 prescription medicines at a lower cost. This page tells you more about the scheme—including how much you will pay, how to save money on medicine and how to use medicine safely.
Your PBS checklist
Take your Medicare card and concession card/s to your pharmacist each time you get a PBS medicine prescription filled
Show the pharmacist your current:
- Medicare card
- Department of Human Services’ or Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) concession card (if you have one)
- PBS Safety Net card (if you have one).
If you can’t show your Medicare or concession card to the pharmacist, you may have to pay the full price for your PBS medicine.
If this happens, ask your pharmacist for an official PBS refund receipt (not the regular docket). You may be able to get a refund by:
- taking your official PBS refund receipt (not the regular docket) to a DHS Service Centre—you will need to show your Medicare card and your concession card, or
- filling out a Patient Claim for Refund form and posting it (make sure you include your official PBS refund receipt) to PBS Processing Centre GPO Box 9826 in your capital city.
Ask for cheaper brands of medicine
You can ask your doctor to prescribe a cheaper brand, or your pharmacist may be able to give you a cheaper brand.
Cheaper brands are just as good. All brands of the same medicine have the same active ingredients. The only difference between brands is the name, price, packaging, size and shape.
All types of medicine in Australia must meet the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s standards of quality, safety and effectiveness. The standards are the same for cheaper and higher-priced brands.
Protect yourself with the PBS Safety Net—keep a record of how much you spend
If you or your family need a lot of medicine in a calendar year, the PBS Safety Net helps you with the cost of your medicine. To find out more, visit the PBS Safety Net.
Don’t get more medicine than you need
Getting more medicine than you need for your medical condition is a serious problem. It can be dangerous to you, your family, friends and others.
- getting a prescription medicine just in case you run out, without actually needing it, and stockpiling it
- getting medicine just to reach the PBS Safety Net—without really needing it
- self-managing an addiction to prescription medicine
- self-managing unrelieved pain
- selling or swapping your medicine to others
- getting medicine to obtain a ‘high’
- taking or sending medicine overseas for use by others.
For more information:
- Call: 1800 020 613
TTY: 1800 552 152 hearing impaired
TIS: 131 450 translating and interpreting service
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travelling overseas with PBS medicine
If you are planning to go overseas, organising your medicine is one of the most important things you can do. If you need PBS prescription medicine, it is important you have this medicine with you, so you remain in good health while you are away.
To find out more, visit Taking and sending PBS medicine overseas.
Claiming and collecting PBS benefits for someone else
You are allowed to collect PBS medicines for someone else. You will need to give the pharmacist the person’s:
- Medicare card details
- Australian government concession card details, if they have one
- PBS Safety Net card details, if they have one.
You will need to sign as an agent to prove you have received the PBS medicine on their behalf.
If you can’t give these details, you may have to pay full price for the medicine.