Dispensing checklist for community pharmacies

PBS dispensing checklist for community pharmacies.

Prescription validity

To be eligible for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) supply, a prescription must be:

Prescribers need to comply with prescribing restrictions relevant to their profession. These are in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (the Schedule).

To ensure prescriptions are valid, prescribers must:

  • write the prescription in ink on a standard PBS prescription or use a computer-generated form approved by us
  • use a PBS authority prescription or approved PBS hospital prescription for Authority required and Authority required (STREAMLINED) items
  • provide original prescriptions in duplicate
  • attach repeat or deferred authorisation forms to the related Patient/Pharmacist copy of the prescription.

Generally, prescriptions remain valid for 12 months from the date of prescribing. However, under state or territory laws some prescriptions are only valid for 6 months.

Patient details

The prescriber must record the patient’s full name and address on the prescription.

The pharmacist must check these details and make sure the pharmaceutical benefit is for the prescribed person’s use.

When claiming, make sure:

Prescription details

Check the patient’s prescription includes:

  • the prescriber's name, address and contact details
  • the prescriber number
  • the patient’s name and address
  • if the prescription is under the PBS or RPBS
  • enough information to identify the pharmaceutical benefit including name, form, strength, quantity and number of repeats
  • if the prescriber noted that brand substitution was not permitted
  • the authority approval number or our approval stamp for Authority required items for example, Z1234AB
  • the streamlined authority code for Authority required (STREAMLINED) items, for example 2438
  • the prescriber's signature and date - forward or back dating is not permitted.

Pharmacy dispensing software (PDS)

Prescriptions processed using Online Claiming for PBS must use PDS and meet our requirements.

Select the correct patient profile in the PDS and enter the:

  • patient’s name and address
  • Medicare number and expiry date
  • entitlement number and expiry date, if applicable
  • date of prescribing
  • prescriber’s details including name, address and prescriber number
  • item details including name, form, strength, quantity, instructions and number of repeats prescribed
  • authority prescription number for Authority required items
  • 4-digit streamlined authority code for Authority required (STREAMLINED) items.

Always dispense from the original prescription and not from the attached repeat or deferred authorisation form.

Other dispensing requirements

When dispensing remember to:

  • attach dispensing serial labels in sequence on the Services Australia/DVA copy of the prescription
  • keep the prescriber’s written details visible - you can place dispensing labels on the back of the prescription
  • resolve any online rejection and warning messages at the time of supply if applicable
  • check the pharmaceutical benefit is correctly ordered by the prescriber, entered in the PDS and supplied to the patient
  • make sure all dispensed prescriptions and repeat authorisation forms once supplied are:
    • signed and dated by the patient
    • signed, dated and addressed by their agent, or correctly certified as supplied, and signed and dated by the pharmacist.

More information

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Page last updated: 30 August 2022.
QC 33056