PBS for prescribers

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:

  1. unrestricted benefits - items that are not limited by therapeutic use
  2. restricted benefits - items that are PBS-subsidised only for specific therapeutic use
  3. 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.


PBS Authorities

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

Read more about PBS Authorities

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.

Read more about the emergency provision arrangements

Streamlined authority process

Approved prescribers need to follow certain procedures to prescribe items that are Authority Required (STREAMLINED) in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits.

Read more about streamlined authority process


Pricing of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicine

Detailed information on how prescription medicines are priced under the PBS and RPBS.

Read more about the pricing of PBS medicine

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.

Read more about the National Residential Medication Chart

Page last updated: 27 August 2017