Information for approved prescribers about the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Prescribing PBS items
The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (the Schedule) lists all items subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and provides details of how to prescribe them.
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, safety net claims as well as authority applications.
PBS Authority approvals phone line - emergency provision arrangements
You must follow any emergency provision messaging on the PBS Authority approvals enquiry line 1800 888 333 to prescribe an Authority required item.
Streamlined authority process
Approved prescribers need to follow certain procedures to claim items identified as authority required (STREAMLINED) by the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits.
Pricing of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicine
Detailed information on how prescription medicines are priced under the PBS and RPBS.
National Residential Medication Chart
You can use the National Residential Medication Chart (NRMC) to prescribe most PBS medicines for your patients in residential aged care facilities.