How to get PBS medicines

Some prescription medicines cost a lot of money. To make these medicines more affordable, the PBS can lower the cost.

Collecting your PBS medicines

You can only collect PBS medicines from a pharmacy. To collect PBS medicines you need to show your Medicare card when filling your prescription. You won’t get a discount for over the counter medicines.

You may get PBS medicines at a further discount if you have a concession or health care card. Just show your Medicare card and 1 of the following:

  • a Health Care Card
  • a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • an Ex-Carer Allowance (Child) Health Care Card
  • a Foster Child Health Care Card
  • a Low Income Health Care Card
  • a Pensioner Concession Card
  • a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Card
  • a PBS Safety Net Card.

Collecting for someone else

You can collect PBS medicines for someone else if you provide both:

  • their prescription
  • their Medicare card details.

You may also need to provide either:

  • their concession or health care card details
  • their PBS Safety Net card details.

If you can’t provide these things, the pharmacy may charge the full amount for the medicine.

You’ll need to sign the prescription form at the pharmacy to prove you collected the medicine.

Getting your PBS medicine if you can't get a prescription

You can get up to 1 month’s supply of PBS medicines without a prescription if you can’t get to your doctor.

Ask your pharmacist about this. They’ll check to see if you can get your medicine without a prescription. You need to have an ongoing medical need and have had the medicine prescribed to you in the past.

Your pharmacist will charge the normal PBS price for your medicine.

You can get medicines without a prescription once in 12 months. You’ll need to make sure you get a prescription for any future supplies of the medicine.

This arrangement will be in place until 30 September 2020.

Next: When you spend a lot on PBS medicines

If you spend a lot on PBS medicines, the PBS Safety Net can reduce your costs.

Page last updated: 2 July 2020