Request an authority using Online PBS Authorities in HPOS

Request a new authority using the Online Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Authorities system on Health Professional Online Services (HPOS).

Changes to Online PBS Authorities system

There are some changes to the way the Online PBS Authorities system looks, with further improvements to come in the next 12 months. Listen to our PBS Authorities podcast to learn more.

As an approved prescriber, you don’t need to call us to request PBS authority approval for:

  • most PBS items
  • increased quantities or repeats for those items
  • 3 month supply of most opioids.

You can request PBS authority approvals online through either:

  • PBS Authorities on HPOS
  • upgraded clinical and prescribing software, when available.

You can nominate delegates to prepare authority requests on your behalf. Delegates can enter all authority information up to the point of submitting the request. You can then log in, confirm the details entered are correct and select Submit.

Phone and written arrangements are available for Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) approvals through the Veterans’ Affairs Pharmaceutical Approval Centre (VAPAC).

Step 1: log on to HPOS and access PBS Authorities

To access the Online PBS Authorities system using HPOS you need:

  • an individual Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account. PRODA is an online identity verification and authentication system that lets you securely access government online services. If you don’t have one, you can register for a PRODA account
  • to have your PBS prescriber number linked to HPOS.

Learn more about HPOS and linking identifiers.

After logging into PRODA, select Go to service on the HPOS tile.

Select My programs in HPOS for a list of programs you can access.

Select PBS Authorities to access the Online PBS Authorities system.

The location of the PBS Authorities tile may change and depends on how many programs you can access.

Step 2: select Request Authority

Select Request Authority to request a new authority for your patient.

Step 3: enter the patient’s Medicare number

Enter your patient’s 11 digit Medicare number (including the patient’s individual reference number), without any spaces or slashes. Then select Search.

The search results display the patient’s:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • Medicare number and expiry.

Make sure you select the correct patient. Then select Next.

Medicare special numbers

There are some situations where you can use a Medicare special number for an eligible patient who can’t provide one.

Step 4: enter the Authority Prescription Number

Enter the Authority Prescription Number as shown on the PBS authority prescription. Then select Next.

Step 5: select the PBS item being prescribed

Medicines are referred to as items under the PBS. Item codes are allocated to help identify each medicine.

You can find item codes on the PBS website. You can find the item codes under each medicine’s Code and Prescriber heading, located next to the Medicinal Product Pack information.

If you don’t know which item code to use, you can search for the item being prescribed by entering the brand or medicine name as a Keyword. Then select Search.

Tip: type the first few letters to find the item you’re prescribing. For example ‘dexam’ will return ‘dexamfetamine’ and ‘dexamethasone’. To sort the results, you can click on the column headings in the Search Results.

You’ll get one search result for each item code, even when searching by brand name.

Select the Brand Name hyperlink to view all listed brands for an item code.

Use the Drug Form and Strength field to refine the search results based on the description in the Drug Form and Strength column. For example, ‘tab 500’ in this field returns only the 500mg tablet form of dexamethasone.

Select the tick box next to the item to be prescribed.

After you’ve selected the item, the Prescribed Quantity and Prescribed Repeats will default to the PBS listed quantity and repeats for the item. You can change the Prescribed Quantity and Prescribed Repeats for the prescription based on your patient needs.

The Daily Dose must also be entered.

The daily dose is needed to calculate the number of days the authority request will last. Enter a number from 0.01 to 999.99. For example, enter 4 for 4 tablets per day.

If the dose is, or includes, a partial dose, up to 2 decimal places can be entered. For example, enter 1.5 to show a daily dose of 1.5 tablets, or 1.75 to show a daily dose of 1.75ml.

Enter the following if a daily dose can’t be measured:

  • X for items that aren’t measured by dosage, such as creams and ointments, or for items used less frequently, such as patches used weekly
  • D for directions given to the patient but not entered into the application.

After you enter the Daily Dose, select Next.

Searching a paediatric Growth Hormone item

When searching for a paediatric Growth Hormone item, use the Drug Form and Strength filter to refine the search results.

Before you complete the Prescribed Quantity, Prescribed Repeats and Weekly dose, use the ‘Paediatric Dose and Cartridge Quantity Calculator for Somatropin only’ or the ‘Somatrogon prescribed maximum quantity by weight’ table on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Accepted units for weekly dose are:

  • mg/m²/week
  • mg/kg/week.

After you enter the prescription details, select Next.

Step 6: select the PBS restriction

To determine the eligibility criteria for the PBS authority application, select the relevant Restriction Code tick box.

To see restriction details in full, such as notes, cautions and warnings, select the Display Restriction Detail link.

If the word Streamlined appears in the Selected PBS Item section of the screen, you don’t need authority approval from us for the listed quantities and repeats. For STREAMLINED items, write the Streamlined Authority Code on the PBS prescription. You can then Exit the authority application.

If prescribing an Unrestricted, Restricted Benefit or Authority Required (STREAMLINED) item above the PBS listed quantity and repeats, or prescribing an Authority Required item, select the relevant Restriction Code tick box and then Next. This allows you to continue with the authority request.

The Restriction Text, Notes and Cautions pop-up provides more information about the PBS Restriction in accordance with the PBS listing.

If you agree that your patient is eligible for the selected restriction, select Next or Close to return to the Restriction Selection screen.

Step 7: answer questions about the PBS restriction

For an authority application you may need to answer more questions about your patient’s eligibility. Answers may need to be text, a number, a date or selected from a drop down menu, as shown on screen.

Note: for paediatric Growth Hormone authorities go to step 8.

Select Next after you answer all questions.

Step 8: answer eligibility questions for paediatric Growth Hormone

After you select the restriction and Next at Step 6, you’ll see the confirmation of the Condition and Treatment combination you’re prescribing.

Select your patient’s Biological Sex, so the system can make the correct assessment.

Answer Yes or No for each set of eligibility questions. Your responses determine the next set of questions.

Select Next Questions to move through the Eligibility Questions.

Questions are single questions, or a set of and or or questions noting:

  • and questions need a response to each question
  • or questions only need one question answered, including selecting no to one of the questions if the patient doesn’t meet any of the options.

After you complete all eligibility questions, enter your patient’s data into the fields.

Select Next when all data is entered.

Step 9: submit your application

The Authority Prescription screen shows information about the patient and the item being prescribed.

You can add comments to the application in the Authority Comments text box.

Confirm all information displayed is correct. You can select Edit to change your application.

When you’re ready to submit the application, tick the Declaration Statement tick box and select Submit.

Step 10: application assessment result

The authority assessment result will show in real-time.

Results for a PBS authority application can include:

  • approved
  • rejected
  • authority not required
  • approved with changes
  • previously rejected/now approved.

If the application is approved, write the PBS Authority Approval Number and PBS Item Code on the prescription.

Select Exit to return to the PBS Authorities homepage, or select New Authority Same Patient to start a new request for the same patient or New Authority to start a new request for a different patient.

If the application is rejected, the displayed Reason Codes will show why.

The main reasons for rejection are:

  • you’ve asked for a PBS Authority too soon for a continuing prescription
  • the quantity of medicine you’ve asked for is too large
  • you’ve given incorrect or wrong answers to the PBS restriction questions.

The Online PBS Authorities system will tell you why your request was rejected so you can amend and resubmit the request or send a new request if you need to.

There are certain reasons where you can override and resubmit a rejected application. Find out more about overriding an assessment result.

Find out more about PBS reason codes for Online PBS Authorities.

More information

Time out screen

If your HPOS session times out, select the PBS Authorities link. You may need to re-enter your PRODA username, password and authentication code into the system. After logging in again, select the PBS Authorities tile to return to the PBS Authorities home page.

Invalid Authority Prescription Number

If the number isn’t valid you’ll need to select Amend Number to re-enter the Authority Prescription Number. If you select Continue without changing the invalid Authority Prescription Number, your PBS authority application will be rejected at the Application Assessment Result screen.

Tip: alphabetical characters are invalid values for an Authority Prescription Number. If you’ve entered the Authority Prescription Number with alphabetical characters, you’ll see the error message 154: Invalid value/s in the following fields: Authority Prescription Number.

Hospital Provider Number

The hospital provider number field is only mandatory for Highly Specialised Drug public or private hospital items. You can fill in a Hospital Provider Number on the Item Search screen, after entering the Dose, Prescribed Quantity and Prescribed Repeats.

Overriding an assessment result

You can resubmit a rejected application for any of the reasons below, noting that not all apply for all medicines:

  • lost
  • stolen
  • destroyed
  • inaccessible
  • change in dose
  • ineffective
  • contra-indicating
  • adverse reaction
  • break in therapy
  • change in strength
  • Section 49 (previously regulation 24)
  • previous authority not completely dispensed as expired due to state/territory legislation
  • additional strength of same medication required.

Select from the Reason Code Override drop down and select Resubmit.

If the date of prescribing is different to the previous application, the Resubmit Authority pop up gives the warning - The date of prescribing will be updated to today’s date. Do you wish to continue? Select Yes, to confirm the original date of prescribing will be overwritten to today’s date. Update the PBS prescription with today’s date.

If approved, the assessment result will be Previously rejected/now approved. Write the PBS Authority approval number and PBS item code on the prescription.

Select Exit to return to the PBS Authorities home page.

Search for existing PBS authorities

Read more about how to search for an existing authority using Online PBS Authorities in HPOS to change an existing application.

PBS medicines and listing changes

Not all PBS medicines and restrictions are available for self-serve in the Online PBS Authorities system. There’s work underway to enable real time assessment results for PBS listed medicines where it’s appropriate.

Listing changes for PBS medicines are determined by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). The PBS has more information about each medicine.

Page last updated: 20 July 2023.
QC 35086