Education guide - Authorised optometrists - writing PBS prescriptions

Information about writing PBS prescriptions for authorised optometrists.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is a system of subsidising the cost of many prescription medicines.

The subsidies are available to all Australian residents and eligible overseas visitors.

You can prescribe PBS medicines listed in the Optometrical Items of the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (the Schedule) as an authorised optometrist.

It is important to prescribe within the terms of your prescribing accreditation and in accordance with your state or territory legislation. You must also ensure your patient satisfies PBS entitlement requirements and meets eligibility criteria in the Schedule for supply of the medicine under the PBS.

There are 3 broad categories of pharmaceutical benefits:

Category Description
Unrestricted Medicines prescribed through the PBS and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) without restrictions on therapeutic use
Restricted Medicines prescribed through the PBS and RPBS if the prescriber is satisfied that the patient's clinical condition matches the therapeutic uses listed in the Schedule. These medicines are identified in the Schedule as a restricted benefit
Authority* required

There are 2 categories for authority listed medicines:

  • Authority required – restricted medicines that require prior approval from us or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). These medicines are identified in the Schedule as ’Authority required’
  • Authority required (STREAMLINED)* – restricted medicines that do not require prior approval from us or DVA, but must have the relevant streamlined authority code included on the prescription. These medicines are identified in the Schedule as ‘Authority required (STREAMLINED)’

*There are no Authority required (STREAMLINED) medicines listed in the Optometrical Items.

Prescribing requirements

PBS medicine must be prescribed using an approved PBS optometrist prescription, or a computer generated PBS prescription. The prescription is used for prescribing:

  • unrestricted medicines
  • restricted medicines
  • Authority required medicines
  • non-PBS prescriptions

Additional prescribing requirements include:

  • only 1 medicine can be prescribed per prescription
  • you cannot prescribe more than 1 PBS prescription for the same medicine for the same person on the same day
  • regulation 24 prescribing, where the original supply and all repeated supplies are provided on 1 occasion, is not permitted
  • when prescribing Authority required medicines, you must obtain prior approval from us or DVA unless it is an Authority required (STREAMLINED) medicine. Prior approval is also required from us or DVA for quantities and repeats above the maximum specified in the Schedule

  1. prescriber’s name and qualification
  2. practice address
  3. patient's name and address
  4. indicate the box that is relevant to your patient, PBS or RPBS
  5. name, strength and form of medicine, only 1 medicine per prescription
  6. dose or instructions for use
  7. quantity and number of repeats, do not abbreviate
  8. your signature
  9. date prescription is written, forward or back dating is not permitted
  10. if appropriate, tick 'Brand substitution not permitted' box
  11. Medicare, concession and veterans' card numbers
  12. authority prescription number is used by the pharmacy as a reference when dispensing an approved authority prescription and repeats of that prescription. We require this number when you are applying for authority approval
  13. authority approval number is the approval number given by us or DVA and is only needed for Authority required medicines

Non-PBS prescriptions

Sample image of non PBS prescription, refer to below list for details

A standard or computerised PBS prescription form may be used to write a non-PBS prescription. However, you must cross out the PBS and RPBS boxes and endorse the prescription as ‘non-PBS' as shown in the example.

You must write a non-PBS prescription to prescribe:

  • outside the PBS restriction, when your patient's clinical condition does not match the indications listed in the Schedule
  • a quantity or a number of repeats exceeding the maximum PBS quantity without an approved authority
  • a medicine not listed in the Schedule
  • for a patient not entitled to PBS medicines
  • for a medicine outside its PBS manner of administration, for example, an eye ointment for topical non-ophthalmic use

More information

Contact us at PBS general enquiries and PBS authority telephone applications.

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Page last updated: 5 July 2018