PBS for prescribers
Information for approved prescribers about the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (the Schedule) lists all items subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). PBS benefits fall into 3 broad categories:
- unrestricted benefits - items that are not limited by therapeutic use
- restricted benefits - items that are PBS-subsidised only for specific therapeutic use
- authority benefits, which are either
- authority required benefits - restricted items that require prior approval from us or the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA), or
- authority required (STREAMLINED) - restricted items that do not require prior approval from us or DVA, but require the recording of a streamlined authority code
Items listed on the PBS
More information on how items are listed on the PBS can be found on the Department of Health website.
Finding the PBS approved indications for restricted benefits
The PBS approved indications for restricted benefits are displayed when the red Restricted Benefit icon - also authority required or authority required (STREAMLINED) is selected. This is underneath the item in the Schedule and is clearly visible if you are selecting the item through your prescribing software.
Prescribing a PBS restricted item for a use not listed in the PBS
When prescribing a restricted benefit for a use not listed on the PBS, you must write a non-PBS prescription. The cost to the patient for a non-PBS prescription might differ between pharmacies.
For more information on PBS-subsidised uses, refer to the PBS website.
Writing a non-PBS prescription
PBS stationery may be used to write non-PBS prescriptions, provided you cross out the PBS and RPBS boxes on the prescription. Endorsing the prescription as ‘non-PBS’ ensures your intentions are clear. Non-PBS and PBS items should not be prescribed on the same prescription form.
Read more about PBS and RPBS prescription forms.
We administer the processing of pharmaceutical benefits and safety net claims, as well as authority applications.
Detailed information on how prescription medicines are priced under the PBS and RPBS.
The National Residential Medication Chart (NRMC) is designed to improve medication safety for your patients. It also reduces administrative work for prescribers, aged care staff and pharmacists when ordering, administering and supplying medicines.
The NRMC has been tested and evaluated in over 20 residential aged care services by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Claims from approved pharmacists can be made using the NRMC and other charts if compliant with state and Commonwealth legislation.
Read more about the NRMC on the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care website.
Prescribe and supply medicines from the NRMC
You can prescribe and supply most medicines directly from the NRMC without the need for a separate written prescription. This includes PBS and RPBS claiming by pharmacists where applicable.
Certain medicines still require a written prescription. They also require an order on the NRMC. These medicines include:
- all PBS authority required items that need prior approval by online, telephone or in writing, including PBS or RPBS items with increased quantities
- PBS items only available under section 100, such as some highly specialised drugs. Read more about section 100 items on the PBS website
- controlled drugs, such as Schedule 8 medicines. Contact your state or territory health department for more information on Schedule 8 medicines
- extemporaneously compounded medicines
- medicines that are subject to state or territory restrictions
Authority required (STREAMLINED) items are eligible for supply and PBS claiming using the NRMC. These items are eligible when the prescriber includes the PBS streamlined authority code in the appropriate area of the NRMC for each relevant medicine.