Online PBS Authorities system

Information about your options for managing Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) Authorities.

What you can use the Online PBS Authorities system for

The Online PBS Authorities (OPA) system allows approved prescribers to request and receive an immediate authority assessment result for most PBS items. This includes increased quantity and repeats where allowed. It excludes some Written Authority Required items.

Use the Online PBS Authorities (OPA) system in HPOS to:

  • request a new PBS authority to prescribe an authority item
  • save a partially completed authority application and resume the application later
  • cancel or change a request you submitted for PBS authority approval, not already dispensed, within one year of being prescribed
  • block an authority you submitted to prevent supply of outstanding repeats
  • enquire about any of your approved, cancelled or rejected PBS authority approvals within 2 years of being prescribed.

You can request PBS authority approvals through OPA, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our PBS Authority status tool gives you real time information. This includes the operational status of the Online PBS Authorities service, systems, and phone lines. You can use it to check if there are system problems when transmitting online to us.

There’s no need to call us for most authority approvals.

How to access the Online PBS Authorities system

The Online PBS Authorities (OPA) system can be accessed through either:

  • Upgraded clinical or prescribing software
  • The PBS Authorities tile in Health Professional Online Services (HPOS).

Contact your software provider about software upgrades to access the service using your clinical or prescribing software.

You need a PRODA account to access HPOS. If you don’t have one, register for a PRODA account and link your HPOS service.

If you’re a delegate you can use OPA to request, view, save and amend authority records on behalf of a prescriber. You won’t be able to submit authority applications but you can partially complete and save them. Then the prescribers can complete and submit.

To find out how to set up delegations in HPOS, read more about managing delegations.

How to use the Online PBS Authority system in HPOS

  1. Log on to HPOS using your PRODA account.
  2. On the HPOS home page, select My programs.
  3. Select PBS Authorities.
  4. Select Record Authority to start recording a new authority for your patient.
  5. Select Search Authorities to search for an existing authority to check patient history and details of applications you’ve prescribed.

We have guides to help you use the Online PBS Authorities system through HPOS. You can read more about how to request a new authority or how to search for an existing authority.

The Online PBS Authorities (OPA) system shows all restriction criteria. You must be satisfied that the patient meets the restriction criteria and provide more information about restricted items as requested.

When you submit your PBS authority request, you may get a reason code of Reject, Warning, Information, or Error message. You can refer to the Reason code type and Approved prescriber fix instructions for more information.

Once you get an authority approval in OPA, you need to provide your patient with a prescription. Make sure you follow the rules for preparing and retaining an authority prescription.

How to enquire about a previously recorded PBS authority approval

You can query an existing PBS authority approval in OPA if you applied for it yourself. You can also query your application if it was approved, rejected or cancelled within the last 2 years.

OPA displays PBS authority approvals processed after 1 July 2015.

When you can cancel or amend a previously approved PBS authority approval

You can cancel or change an existing PBS authority approval in OPA. You can do this if all the following apply:

  • you applied for PBS authority approval yourself
  • the item hasn’t been dispensed to the patient
  • it was prescribed within the last year.

When you can block a previously supplied PBS authority approval from further supply

Using the Online PBS Authorities system, you can block a previously supplied PBS authority approval, that you have written, to prevent the supply of any outstanding repeats.

You cannot unblock an authority, contact the PBS Authorities approvals team to request this.

When you can’t use the Online PBS Authorities system

There are some Written Authority Required items that you can’t request through the Online PBS Authorities system.

Read more about how to get approval for Written Authority Required items.

Contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) for Repatriation PBS (RPBS) authority approval.

How to submit PBS written authority documents via HPOS

You can use it to securely send messages with forms and supporting documents directly to us. It also confirms any forms received and stops postal delays.

Before you use HPOS to upload your PBS written authority documents, you should scan and save them. You can create one PDF document that includes your PBS authority prescription or application form and any supporting documents.

When you upload the documents, you’ll get a Reference Number to keep with the patient’s file. This will help you to find the correct patient record when it’s been approved. The approval will be sent to your mailbox in HPOS.

Read more about how to upload PBS written authority documents through the form upload function in HPOS.

How to manage streamlined authorities

The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits identifies certain items as Authority Required (STREAMLINED). You don’t need prior approval from us or DVA to get prescriptions for listed quantities or repeats for these items. You’ll still be able to get an Authority Approval Number.

You can find the Streamlined Authority Code in the Schedule next to the text that describes the indications for which the item may be prescribed.

You need prior approval for increased quantities or repeats. You can either call the PBS Authorities approvals team or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to do this.

Read more about the streamlined authority process.

Read more about the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits on the PBS website.

Page last updated: 4 December 2023.
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