Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – prescribing rights for optometrists

Optometrists will be able prescribe a limited list of eye medicines on the PBS, removing the need for their patients to make separate visits to GPs.

Page last updated: 08 May 2007

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Why is this important?

  • In the past, prescriptions from optometrists have not been eligible for subsidy under the PBS.
  • Optometrists who are authorised to prescribe certain preparations under the relevant state or territory legislation will be able to apply to Medicare Australia for approval to prescribe from a limited list of eye medicines on the PBS.

Who will benefit?

  • This will improve access to eye care particularly for concession card holders and people in rural areas. It will also reduce inconvenience and cost for consumers who will no longer need to visit a GP to obtain PBS prescriptions for some eye medications.
  • This initiative will make more effective use of health services provided by optometrists and support continuity of care.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • The Government will provide additional funding at an estimated cost of $10.7 million over four years from 2007-08.

What have we done in the past?

  • Patients requiring eye preparations prescribed by an optometrist have not been able to obtain them at the PBS-subsidised price. To obtain a PBS prescription, a separate doctor’s consultation was required.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This initiative is ongoing.

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