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).

Further improvements to Online PBS Authorities system

We’ve made changes to the Online PBS Authorities system with further improvements to come in 2024. 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.

If unknown, you may leave the Authority Prescription Number field blank. This number must be provided on submission (Step 10).

Step 5: Patient and Prescriber details

You’ll see Patient and Prescriber details in the top panel. You can select anywhere in the top panel to see more or less information.

Step 6: 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 under each medicine’s Code and Prescriber heading. These are next to the Medicinal Product Pack information.

If you don’t know which item code to use, you can search for the PBS item using the Keyword or item code field. This will give you predictive results to choose from. Begin searching by entering either:

  • the drug name or brand, refining the search by adding the form and strength, e.g. amox caps 500 mg for amoxicillin 500mg capsule
  • PBS item code.

The Search Results will also show the brands and listing type if these are applicable. You can sort results using the column headings. Select the PBS item you’re prescribing.

Enter the Dose and select the Dose frequency from the drop-down list. The Dose frequency includes:

  • daily
  • weekly
  • fortnightly
  • monthly
  • every
  • as required.

You can select ? to see examples of how to enter the Dose frequency.

Doses can have a maximum of 6 digits including a decimal. For example: 1.2345, 12.234, 123.45, 1234.5.

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’s needs.

After you enter the Prescription details, select Next.

Searching a paediatric Growth Hormone item

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 7: 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 8: 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 9.

Select Next after you answer all questions.

Step 9: answer eligibility questions for paediatric Growth Hormone

After you select the restriction and Next at Step 7, 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 10: submit your application

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

If your Authority Prescription Number changed after you started the application, you can change it on the summary screen before selecting ‘Submit’.

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 11: 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, endorse the prescription with the PBS Authority Approval Number and PBS Item Code.

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 you’ve been inactive for a period of time, you’ll get a pop-up with a countdown timer letting you know you’ll soon be logged out. Select Stay Online if you want to stay logged in.

You’ll be logged out at the end of the countdown if you don’t take any action.

If your HPOS session times out, select the PBS Authorities tile. 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 when you select Submit, 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.

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, Dose frequency, Prescribed Quantity and Prescribed Repeats.

Overriding an assessment result

Depending on the rejection reason, 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. Endorse the prescription with the PBS Authority approval number and PBS item code.

Select Exit to return to the PBS Authorities home page, or select New Authority or New Authority Same Patient for a new authority request.

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: 4 December 2023.
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