Discounting patient co-payment

The discounting patient co-payment discounts medicines for community pharmacies and dispensing medical practitioners.

Community pharmacies and dispensing medical practitioners can discount medicines up to $1.00 under the:

  • general PBS patient co-payment
  • concessional PBS patient co-payment.

Patients need to make a co-payment for each original and repeat prescription. This is when the medicine’s Commonwealth price is equal to or higher than the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net co-payment.

You can discount the co-payment amount for:

  • prescriptions endorsed with ‘section 49’, previously regulation 24
  • prescriptions endorsed with ‘hardship conditions apply’
  • Closing the Gap (CTG) prescriptions.

You must record the co-payment amounts for these prescriptions on the prescription record form.

You can supply a pharmaceutical benefit under section 51 if the patient meets the requirements for an immediate supply. As part of the PBS Safety Net 20 day rule, you can only discount the co-payment by up to $1.00. This applies if the supply is for a medicine not specified in the early supply instrument.

Discounting arrangements continued from 1 January 2023 when the maximum general co-payment reduced to $30.00. Optional increased discounting is allowed on general prescriptions with a cost between $30.01 and $45.60. If an increased discount is given for a script in this range, it can still be supplied as a PBS script but you won’t be paid a PBS subsidy for the medicine. You’ll need to claim the script in the under co-payment claim category. It will count towards the patient’s PBS Safety Net threshold at the discounted amount paid.

Read more about the PBS on the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website.

Page last updated: 15 June 2024.
QC 74281