Education guide - Continued Dispensing Initiative - PBS requirements

Information for pharmacists about supplying and claiming under Continued Dispensing of PBS Medicines in Defined Circumstances.

Make sure you also read the Guidelines for the continued dispensing of eligible prescribed medicines by pharmacists on the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia website.

Under this initiative:

  • eligible pharmacists can supply a patient with certain Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) medicines without a prescription
  • a patient can only get 1 supply per eligible medicine every 12 months.

This complements emergency supply provisions, including urgent communicated prescriptions under the PBS and state or territory legislation.

Medicines supplied under Continued Dispensing are subject to:

  • PBS patient contributions and refund requirements
  • section 51 of the National Health (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Regulations 2017 - immediate supply 20 day and 4 day rule.

The medicine also goes toward the patient's PBS Safety Net threshold.


Under Continued Dispensing, pharmacists must meet the requirements in the table below along with state or territory legislation:

Category Description
Supplier Only community pharmacies, under section 90 and section 90A approved suppliers, can supply PBS medicines under Continued Dispensing.

The pharmacist must confirm the patient is either:


Eligible medicines, including brands, are in the National Health (Continued Dispensing) Determination 2012 of the National Health Act 1953. Read the determination on the Federal Register of Legislation website.

Some of these medicines include:

  • oral hormonal contraceptives
  • lipid modifying agents - HMG CoA reductase inhibitors - 'statins'
  • PBS and RPBS subsidies are for medicines in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (the Schedule) on the PBS website.

The Continued Dispensing initiative doesn’t cover:

  • Closing the Gap PBS Co-Payment Measure benefits
  • dispensing Authority required or Authority required (STREAMLINED) medicines
  • dispensing quantities greater than listed in the Schedule - even if a patient got this in the past
  • repeat authorisations.

When Continued Dispensing is appropriate

Before a patient can get medicine under Continued Dispensing, you must make sure:

  • the medicine
    • is eligible for supply under Continued Dispensing
    • was supplied to the patient in the last 6 months and their condition is stable
    • is safe and appropriate for the patient
    • wasn’t supplied to the patient by any pharmacy as a Continued Dispensing medicine in the past 12 months
  • there’s an immediate need for the medicine and circumstances prevented the patient from getting a prescription
  • it’s not practical to obtain a prescription or communicated supply from the patient's prescriber.

You must record the information used to support your decision to supply medicine under Continued Dispensing. You must:

  • keep records for 2 years from the date of supply
  • keep your records consistent with other records
  • comply with state or territory and Commonwealth legislation.

Dispensing details

When dispensing, use pharmacy dispensing software (PDS) to record:

  • the medicine you supplied under Continued Dispensing - this will vary depending on your PDS
  • the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registration number of the pharmacist who supplied the medicine.

Online claiming for PBS

You must use online claiming for PBS for Continued Dispensing. There are specific reason codes you need to use.

Your PDS will generate 2 forms:

Form 1 - Modified repeat authorisation form

Use this form to record:

  • the details of the Continued Dispensing supply
  • the patient’s, or their agent’s, signature to show they received the medicine.

Form 2 - Consumer declaration and prescriber notification form

Use this form to:

  • show that the patient, or their agent, understands they were supplied without consultation from their prescriber
  • notify the patient's prescriber that a Continued Dispensing supply was given
  • notify the most recent prescriber, or their practice, in writing within 24 hours that the medicine was supplied.

You shouldn’t rely on online claiming for PBS for clinical decision making purposes

Completing the forms

If the patient or their agent can’t sign, the pharmacist can certify supply on:

  • the Modified repeat authorisation form
  • the Consumer declaration and prescriber notification form.

Keep a copy of all completed and signed forms for 2 years from the date of supply.

More information

Read more about:

Contact us about PBS general enquiries.

To give feedback on our education resources, contact us.

Page last updated: 20 November 2018

Was this page useful?
Why not?

Thank you for your feedback.