Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net

The PBS Safety Net reduces the cost of prescription medicines for individuals and families once the PBS Safety Net threshold has been reached.

Safety Net thresholds

The thresholds are updated each year on 1 January. The following rates are for 2016.

Rates for 2016 General patients Concession card holders
Patient contribution Up to $38.30 $6.20
PBS Safety Net threshold $1,475.70 $372.00
When PBS Safety Net threshold is reached $6.20 Free

When you are close to reaching the PBS Safety Net threshold, ask your pharmacist about a PBS Safety Net card. With this card your PBS medicine is less expensive, or free, 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 will not count towards your PBS Safety Net threshold. Talk to your pharmacist if you are unsure.

If you go over the threshold before you get your PBS Safety Net card, you may get a refund. If this happens, ask your pharmacist for an official PBS refund receipt, not just a regular docket.

To get a refund:

Recording your PBS medicines

You need to keep a record of your PBS medicines on a Prescription Record Form. This form is available from your pharmacist. This form helps you keep a record of all your PBS medicines so you know when you have reached the PBS Safety Net threshold.

If you go to the same pharmacist for all your PBS medicines, you can ask them to keep a computer record for you.

If you have a family, ask your pharmacist about combining the amounts for all eligible family members.

PBS Safety Net family

If you combine your family’s PBS amounts you might reach the PBS Safety Net threshold sooner. You can then get a PBS Safety Net card from your pharmacist.

A family comprises of:

  • a couple legally married and not separated, or a couple in a de facto relationship, with or without dependent children, or
  • a single person with dependent children

A dependent child is someone under 16 years or a full time student under 25 years attending school, college or university, who you substantially support financially.

Non-PBS prescriptions

Your doctor may prescribe a medicine for your condition that is not listed or available on the PBS. This is sometimes called a private prescription. Your doctor will put this on your prescription and you will need to pay the full price for the medicine at the pharmacy. Non PBS prescriptions do not count towards your PBS Safety Net threshold.

PBS Safety Net 20 day rule

You should only get your PBS medicines supplied when you need them.

If you get PBS medicines within 20 days of your last prescription, it might not count towards your PBS Safety Net threshold.

If you do this, and you have already reached your threshold, you will have to pay your usual PBS contribution instead of the reduced PBS Safety Net amount.

This helps keep the PBS affordable for everyone.

Changing your PBS Safety Net registration and ordering a new PBS Safety Net card

If you need to make changes to your PBS Safety Net registration or if you need a replacement or supplementary PBS Safety Net card:

Page last updated: 14 September 2016