Overview of the PBS

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) subsidises prescription medicines listed under the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits.

The PBS gives all Australian residents and eligible overseas visitors affordable access to some prescription medicine.

Our role is to administer the PBS. This includes processing claims and paying benefits under the PBS, running the PBS Safety Net, PBS stationery and PBS authority assessment.

We also work on programs related to the PBS that help Aboriginal patients, veterans and stoma patients.

Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits

The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits lists the medicines available under the PBS. The schedule can be read and downloaded on the PBS website. The site is updated on the first day of every month to include new and changed listings.

PBS Safety Net

If a patient needs a lot of medicines in a calendar year, the PBS Safety Net can help with the cost of PBS medicines.

PBS stationery

You can order PBS stationery products, including PBS prescription pads and PBS Safety Net cards from our PBS stationery order forms webpage.

Online PBS Authorities System

You may need to get approval from us before you prescribe some PBS-subsidised medicines. You can phone us or use the Online PBS Authorities System to apply for authority approval for most PBS items.

You can make a request online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through either:

  • clinical or prescribing software - where available
  • Health Professional Online Services (HPOS).

Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services

The Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services (RAAHS) program allows patients of approved Aboriginal health services (AHS) to get medicines from the AHS for free and without a normal PBS prescription form.

Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

The Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) ensures veterans and war widows have access to medicines on the PBS as well as medicines on the RPBS. Read about the RPBS on the Department of Veterans' Affairs website.

Stoma Appliance Scheme

The Stoma Appliance Scheme (SAS) Schedule lists stoma-related products. It provides free stoma-related aids and appliances to nearly 45,000 members of stoma associations.

More information

For PBS enquiries and support, contact us.

You can also read PBS education for health professionals.

Page last updated: 29 June 2023.
QC 22871