PBS Authorities

We administer the processing of pharmaceutical benefits and safety net claims, as well as authority applications.

If you call the PBS Authority approvals enquiry line on 1800 888 333 and hear the emergency message, you must follow the emergency provision arrangements to prescribe an Authority required item. Read more about the emergency provision arrangements.

About the online PBS Authorities system

Online PBS Authorities provides an online solution for approved prescribers to get a PBS authority approval for the majority of PBS items (excluding Complex authority items and Alzheimers items), including increased quantity and repeats where allowed. This will remove the need for approved prescribers to call us for most authority approvals.

You can request PBS authority approvals online through:

  • clinical or prescribing software, when upgraded to use Online PBS Authorities functionality, or
  • Health Professional Online Services (HPOS)

The online channels are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, where you can:

  • request a new PBS authority approval to prescribe an authority item
  • cancel or amend a request you submitted for PBS authority approval, not already dispensed, for a period of 1 year from the date of prescribing, and
  • enquire about any of your approved, cancelled or rejected PBS authority approvals for a period of 2 years from the date of prescribing

Logging on through upgraded clinical or prescribing software  

Contact your software vendor for more details about software upgrades for accessing Online PBS Authorities using clinical or prescribing software.

When using your upgraded clinical or prescribing software you need to register for a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account to access Online PBS Authorities.

Read more about PRODA.

Logging on through HPOS

If you are a new user you need to register for a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account to access HPOS.

A PRODA account allows health professionals and administrators to securely access HPOS. It provides an alternative to our Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) individual certificates (smart card or USB tokens), which are used to log on to HPOS.

To create an account, you need to:

  • set up a personal username and password
  • verify your identity, and
  • link identifiers, such as your Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) number and provider number

When you create an account, your identity will be verified online in real time using the government’s Document Verification Service (DVS), which connects to state and territory registration databases.

Once you have created your account, you can log on to HPOS. The process is digital, portable, and unlike Medicare PKI individual certificates, doesn’t need additional hardware or software installed.

Each time you access HPOS you need to enter:

  • your username
  • your password, and
  • a unique verification code

You receive the code by SMS, email or generated on a mobile iOS or Android application (set up when you create your account).

Existing users can:

  • continue to use an existing Medicare PKI individual certificate
  • create a PRODA account and discontinue the use of a Medicare PKI individual certificate, or
  • create a PRODA account to use in conjunction with an existing Medicare PKI individual certificate

Read more about PRODA.

Requesting a new PBS authority approval online

You can request a PBS authority approval for the majority of PBS items that can currently be obtained by phone (excluding Complex authority items and Alzheimers items), including increased quantity and repeats where allowed.

You can also cancel or amend an authority approval request previously recorded by you.

The online channels will display all restriction criteria in full. You will need to satisfy that the patient meets the restriction criteria, and answer any questions to provide additional information about restricted items.

The online channels will dynamically respond to information you provide for the PBS authority approval request. Approved Prescriber fix instructions are available if you are presented with a reason code  when processing your PBS Authority.

You still need to complete and provide your patient with a prescription and comply with the rules of writing and retaining an authority prescription.

Enquire about a previously recorded PBS authority approval online

You can enquire about previously recorded PBS authority approvals if:

  • you applied for the PBS authority approval yourself, and
  • it was approved, rejected or cancelled within the last 2 years

Note: the system can only display PBS authority approvals processed after 1 July 2015.

Cancel or amend a previously approved PBS authority approval online

You can cancel or amend a PBS authority approval through the online channels if:

  • you requested the PBS authority approval yourself
  • the item has not been dispensed to the patient, and
  • it is within 1 year from the date of prescribing

Items excluded from online service

All PBS authority approval requests to prescribe Complex authority items and Alzheimers items are excluded from the online service at this time.

Contact us at PBS authority approvals to request PBS authority approval for PBS items excluded from the online service.

Contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to request Repatriation PBS (RPBS) authority approval.

Writing authority PBS prescriptions

You must write authority required PBS prescriptions on authority PBS/RPBS prescription forms.

This includes:

  • the pharmacist or patient copy, that records the prescriber, patient and pharmaceutical benefit item. This prescription is given to the patient to be dispensed at their pharmacy
  • the prescriber’s copy, which is kept for 12 months. This copy must record the daily dose, details of the disease, clinical justification for using the item, the patient's age (if the patient is a child) and whether the patient already received an authority for this pharmaceutical benefit

As the approved prescriber you must:

  • prescribe only 1 item per PBS authority prescription
  • complete the PBS prescription in writing, unless we approve otherwise
  • include your name, address and phone number
  • include the patient's name, address and entitlement status, such as whether they are a concessional or general patient
  • identify when brand substitution is not permitted. PBS prescriptions must not be prepared using a computer prescribing program that contains a default which would result in all PBS prescriptions being indicated as ‘Brand Substitution Not Permitted’
  • provide additional information to us with the authority application in certain circumstances, and
  • sign and date the PBS prescription

We will return posted applications that cannot be approved without this information. If the matter can be resolved by phone, an authority to prescribe form may be sent to you by us or DVA.

Authority PBS prescriptions approved by phone or online must include the authority approval number on the PBS prescription so the approved supplier can dispense the medication. If you are granted approval but decide not to continue with the treatment, let us know quickly or cancel the authority approval online.

For authority required (STREAMLINED) prescriptions, the streamlined authority code must be written on the PBS/RPBS prescription form. This allows the pharmacist to supply the medication as a PBS benefit.

Streamlined authorities

The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (the Schedule) identifies certain items as 'authority required (STREAMLINED)'. Prescriptions for listed quantities or repeats for these items do not require prior approval from us or the DVA to obtain an authority approval number.

Prescribers can find the streamlined authority code in the Schedule next to the text that describes the indications for which the item may be prescribed.

Prior approval must be sought for increased quantities or repeats. Either contact us or the DVA.

Read more about the streamlined authority process.

Page last updated: 4 May 2017

This information was printed Friday 23 June 2017 from humanservices.gov.au/health-professionals/enablers/pharmaceutical-benefits-scheme-authorities It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.