PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) is an Australian Government program that provides subsidised prescription drugs to residents of Australia. The PBS ensures that Australian residents have affordable and reliable access to a wide range of necessary medicines.
The Scheme is available to all Australian residents who hold a current Medicare card.
Overseas visitors from countries with which Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) are also eligible to access the Scheme. Australia currently has RHCAs with the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Malta, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Belgium and Slovenia.
Patient Co-payments for 2018:
- Concession Price: $6.40 + premiums
- General Price: up to $39.50 + premiums
Once a PBS prescription is dispensed:
- You cannot get another PBS prescription for the same medication dispensed on the same day or within the next 20 days if the item is listed in the PBS Schedule with five or more repeats allowed (eye preparations are excluded).
- You cannot get another prescription for the same medication dispensed under the PBS on the same day or within the next 4 days for all other items (that is, items listed in the PBS Schedule with less than five repeats and eye preparations).
However, if your PBS medicine has been lost, stolen or destroyed; or if you require your medicine without delay for treatment; then your pharmacist can dispense a prescription as an early repeat supply of your PBS medicine. This must be recorded with ‘immediate supply required’ on your prescription and signed by your pharmacist.
These rules are in place to keep the PBS fair for all Australians.
The Safety Net is a system designed to protect individuals and families from the high total cost of large numbers of PBS medicines. Once the PBS Safety Net threshold has been reached, the costs of your medicines are generally reduced.
The thresholds are updated each year on 1st of January. The PBS Safety Net thresholds for 2018 are as below:
|2018 Safety Net||General Patient||Concession Patient|
|PBS Safety Net threshold||$1521.80||$384.00|
|When PBS Safety Net threshold is reached||$6.40||Free|
Regulation 24 means that a doctor can write a PBS prescription so that all the repeats are supplied at the same time, in certain circumstances.
A prescription is valid for 12 months from the date it was prescribed except for controlled drug (schedule 8) where the prescription is valid for 6 months.