Highly specialised drugs

Dispensing requirements

Dispensing requirements for PBS highly specialised drugs.

Requirements for dispensing

Dispensing requirements for PBS highly specialised drugs. Restrictions apply to certain pharmacies that can dispense and claim HSDs.

Under the National Health Act 1953, approved suppliers include:

  • community pharmacies approved under section 90
  • public and private hospitals approved under section 94, and
  • medical practitioners approved under section 92 (applicable to HSD CA items only)


Hospitals not approved under section 94 can apply for approval to prescribe and supply HSDs under the National Health (Highly specialised drugs program for hospitals) Special Arrangements Instrument 2010.

HSD items are approved as either:

  • a HSD public hospital item (HSD PUB)
  • a HSD private hospital item (HSD PTE), or
  • a HSD community access item (HSD CA)

Complex Authority required (CAR) HSD items are also listed with separate public and private hospital item codes.


Pharmacies must only dispense and claim HSDs appropriate for their pharmacy type. The patient's eligibility determines the item code approved and then the type of pharmacy that can dispense and claim the prescription. We will not pay for prescriptions dispensed by the incorrect type of pharmacy.

Supplier restrictions

HSD item Dispense from a Public hospital Dispense from a Private hospital Dispense from a Community pharmacy Dispense from a Medical practitioner

(non-CAR item)

Yes No No No

(CAR item)

Yes No Yes No

(non-CAR item)

No Yes Yes No

(CAR item)

No Yes Yes No
HSD CA Yes Yes Yes Yes
This information was printed Monday 20 May 2019 from https://www.humanservices.gov.au/organisations/health-professionals/services/medicare/highly-specialised-drugs/about/dispensing-requirements It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/site-notices when using this material.

Page last updated: 22 February 2019