Prescription Shopping Programme

The Prescription Shopping Programme (PSP) is a service to help prescribers make informed prescribing decisions and better manage the health outcomes of their patient.

About the programme

Prescription shopping is when a patient unknowingly or deliberately gets more medicine than they need. They may visit many doctors and not tell them about their other consultations.

The PSP helps prescribers identify patients who may get more PBS subsidised medicines than they medically need.

The PSP has a 24 hour Prescription Shopping Information Service (PSIS) and a Prescription Shopping Alert Service (PSAS).

Criteria for PSP

Your patient meets the PSP criteria if within any 3 month period, they've been supplied with:

  • any PBS items prescribed by 6 or more different prescribers, and/or
  • a total of 25 or more PBS target items, and/or
  • a total of 50 or more items. This includes target and non-target PBS items supplied to the patient.

Target pharmaceutical benefits are a subset of medicines in certain categories of the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification system, as defined by the World Health Organisation, that are included under the PSP.

Some reasons your patients may get more medicines than they medically need include:

  • stockpiling for later use
  • drug dependency
  • intention to sell, swap or give to relatives, or
  • to send illegally overseas

Patients who meet the PSP criteria

If your patient meets the PSP criteria:

  • we can provide verbal advice on the PBS medicines supplied to the patient, including the number of prescribers who have prescribed to the patient during the defined period
  • you can request a patient summary report by calling the PSIS to help you decide if you’ll still prescribe to them
Our information is based on PBS data approved pharmacies send to us. It’s accurate up to the last 24 hours.

Patients who don’t meet the PSP criteria

If your patient doesn’t meet the PSP criteria but you still have concerns, you can:

  • learn more about how we manage the information in the PSIS
  • contact your state or territory health department about statutory reporting requirements or any other programs available in your state

Prescription Shopping Information Service

The PSIS is a telephone service available 24 hours, 7 days a week. You can call this service to find out if your patient meets the PSP criteria. It’s accurate up to the last 24 hours.

Many prescribers can contact the PSIS about the same patient if they’re looking after that patient.

Registering for the PSIS

To register to use the PSIS, first you need to fill out and return the Prescription Shopping Information Service registration form or call the PSIS. Then you can start using the PSIS to find out if your patient meets the PSP criteria.

Using the PSIS

When you call the PSIS we’ll ask for:

  • your prescriber number
  • your full name
  • a question to confirm your identity
  • the patient's Medicare number, date of birth and full name

Once we’ve confirmed who you are, we’ll tell you if your patient has met the PSP criteria.

If your patient doesn’t met the PSP criteria, then no further information can be provided.  

Medical practice staff can’t contact the PSIS on your behalf.

Approved suppliers, such as an approved pharmacist, can access the PSIS Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm AEST.

Patient summary report

You can only request a patient summary report - a list of PBS medicines supplied to the patient over a 3 month period - if your patient meets the PSP criteria.

The report includes:

  • the number of prescribers who have prescribed to the patient, and
  • details of dosage and quantity supplied to the patient in a 3 month period

Accessing a patient summary report

You can access a patient summary report:

Prescription Shopping Alert Service

The Prescription Shopping Alert Service (PSAS) assesses patients who meet the PSP criteria once a month. We may write to you if we’re concerned your patient may be getting more PBS medicines than they medically need.

The PSAS refers to these target medicines to assess high risk patients.


acamprosate
alprazolam
amitriptyline
asenapine
atomoxetine
bromazepam
buprenorphine
buprenorphine + naloxone
bupropion
citalopram
clonazepam
clozapine
codeine


desvenlafaxine
dexamfetamine
diazepam
dothiepin
doxepin
duloxetine
escitalopram
fentanyl
flunitrazepam
fluoxetine
fluvoxamine
gabapentin
hydromorphone
lisdexamfetamine


lithium carbonate
methadone
methylphenidate
mianserin
midazolam
mirtazapine
modafinil
morphine
naltrexone
nicotine
nitrazepam
olanzapine
oxazepam
oxycodone


oxycodone + naloxone
paracetamol + codeine
paroxetine
phenobarbitone
pregabalin
quetiapine
reboxetine
sertraline
tapentadol
temazepam
tramadol
varenicline
venlafaxine
zopiclone

How we manage the programme

We administer the programme in line with strict privacy and legal constraints. If your patient meets the PSP criteria, we can tell you:

  • the PBS medicines supplied to your patient, and
  • any information to help you manage the medication needs of your patient—this isn’t to be used for a different purpose

We can’t tell you about the PBS medicines supplied to a person who isn’t your patient.

We can’t tell you if:

  • a prescriber gave your patient samples of medication
  • medicine is supplied as a private prescription
  • your patient used over the counter medicine
  • a prescriber gave your patient any emergency treatment
  • a pharmacist gave emergency PBS medicine
  • medicine is prescribed under the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS), and
  • medicine is supplied as a PBS section 100 item

Report a patient

If you suspect your patient is committing fraud, such as forging prescriptions, you can report your patient to our customer fraud tip off line.

Patients accessing information

You can let your patient know they can write to us to access their own PBS claims history. Read more about how to get personal information releases.

More information

Contact us for more information about the PSIS.

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Related subjects

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Page last updated: 4 September 2018