Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
The scheme that gives timely, reliable and affordable access to medicines for Australians.
Who can get it
The PBS provides cheaper medicines to:
- Australian residents
- visitors from other countries with a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement
The Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) gives access to PBS items and more for:
- eligible veterans
- war widows and widowers, and
Claiming PBS medicines
To get cheaper medicine when filling a prescription, show your:
- Medicare card, and
- concession card
- health care card
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs card, or
- PBS Safety Net card
If you don’t have your cards, you may have to pay more. If this happens, ask your pharmacist for an official PBS refund receipt. This isn’t a regular sales receipt.
To get a refund:
- complete a Patient claim for refund Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) form
- submit your form at a service centre or by post to the address on the form
You may not get a full refund for more expensive brands of medicine.
The PBS Safety Net can help with the cost of many prescriptions.
Do not get more medicine than you need. You should only get PBS medicines when you need them.
Collecting for someone else
You can collect PBS medicines for someone else if you provide their:
- Medicare card details
- concession card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card details
- PBS Safety Net card details, and
- sign to prove you collected the medicine
You may have to pay full price if you can’t provide these details.
You can ask your pharmacist for a generic brand of medicine.
Generic brands are cheaper, have the same active ingredients and meet Australian standards.
Read about generic brand standards and safety on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website.
Taking or sending your PBS medicine overseas
There are laws and restrictions on the amount and types of PBS medicines you can take or send overseas.
It’s illegal to take or send PBS medicines out of Australia that aren’t for you or for someone travelling with you.
If you need to travel, read about travelling overseas with PBS medicines.