Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net
Gets you medicines cheaper or free if you’ve spent over a set amount on them that year.
Safety Net thresholds
The PBS Safety Net threshold is:
- $1,494.90 for general patients, or
- $378 for concession card holders
Before you meet the PBS Safety Net threshold, your medication will cost:
- up to $38.80 for general patients, or
- up to $6.30 for concession card holders
When you reach the PBS Safety Net threshold and the pharmacist gives you a safety net card, your medication for the remainder of the year will be:
- up to $6.30 for general patients
- free for concession card holders
The PBS Safety Net is calculated on a calendar year and it resets at the beginning of every year. The thresholds are updated each year on 1 January.
You need a PBS Safety Net Card to get cheaper or free PBS medicine once you’ve reached the threshold.
When you’re close to reaching the threshold, ask your pharmacist about getting a PBS Safety Net card. This card will be valid for the rest of the calendar year.
If you choose a more expensive brand of medicine, you may need to pay more. The extra amount won't count towards your PBS Safety Net threshold. Talk to your pharmacist for more information.
If you spend over the threshold before you get the card, you may get a refund.
To get a refund:
- download and complete a Patient claim for refund Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) form
- submit your form at a service centre or post it to the address on the form
Know when you reach the threshold
Keep a record of your PBS medicines on a Prescription Record Form. You can get this from your pharmacist. By doing this, you’ll know when you’ve reached the PBS Safety Net threshold.
If the same pharmacist provides all your PBS medicines, ask them to:
- keep a computer record for you, and
- combine your medication for all eligible family members
PBS Safety Net for families
If you combine your family’s PBS amounts, you may reach the threshold sooner. Then you can get a PBS Safety Net card from your pharmacist.
A family is:
- a couple married and not separated, or a couple in a de facto relationship with or without dependent children
- a single person with dependent children
A dependent child is:
- younger than 16
- a full time student younger than 25
- attending school, college or university who you support financially
You can reach the PBS Safety Net using prescriptions filled at:
- community pharmacies and private hospitals approved to supply PBS medicines, or
- out-patient pharmacies at public hospitals
Use a hospital Prescription Record Form to record medicines dispensed at out-patient pharmacies at public hospitals. You can get the form from your hospital pharmacist. Under the Joint Safety Net arrangement, each state and territory determines the amount charged for these medicines, which is the amount that contributes to your threshold.
For more information about the Joint Safety Net arrangement:
- check with your public hospital out-patient department, or
- read about the Safety Net Scheme on the Department of Health’s website
The PBS Safety Net early supply rule
Some PBS medicines won't count towards the threshold. This may happen if you fill prescription repeats too close together.
If you fill PBS medicine prescription repeats too close together and you:
- don’t have a current PBS Safety Net card, your payment for the prescription won’t count towards the threshold
- have a current PBS Safety Net Card, the cost of the prescription will be your usual contribution amount, not the cheaper PBS Safety Net amount
If you move or need a new PBS Safety Net card
To update your address or get a replacement card:
- complete a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Safety Net amendment, replacement or supplementary card application, or
- write to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Section at the Department of Human Services
Department of Human Services
Pharmaceutical Benefits Section
GPO Box 9826
In your capital city