Aboriginal Health Services and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

The following page contains information on improving access to essential medicines by clients of remote Aboriginal Health Services through the special PBS supply arrangements enacted under the provisions of section 100 of the National Health Act 1953.

Page last updated: 05 December 2014

To address identified barriers in accessing the PBS, special arrangements were introduced in 1999 for the supply of PBS medicines to clients of eligible remote area Aboriginal Health Services (AHSs). Under the provisions of section 100 of the National Health Act 1953, clients of approved remote area AHSs are able to receive medicines from the AHS, without the need for a normal PBS prescription form, and without charge.

Clients of around 162 remote area AHSs, including Aboriginal community controlled AHSs and remote services operated by the States and Territories, benefit from improved PBS access through these arrangements.

The links to the right of the page provide access to more specific PBS s100 information.

For further information about PBS access by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, please email the Department (S100-remotepharmsupport@health.gov.au).

Supply of pharmaceutical benefits to eligible remote area Aboriginal Health Services under section 100 of National Health Act 1953

Scope of the arrangements

PDF printable version of Scope of the Arrangements (PDF 59 KB)

Since 1999 special arrangements have operated under the provisions of section 100 of the National Health Act 1953 for the supply of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines to eligible remote area AHSs.

Under these arrangements, clients of approved remote area AHSs are able to receive medicines from the AHS, without the need for a normal PBS prescription form*, and without charge.

The arrangements cover essential, cost effective medicines which are currently listed in Section 2 of the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (including Palliative Care items), in force at the time of supply, EXCLUDING:

  1. emergency drug (Doctor’s Bag) supplies;
  2. Highly Specialised Drugs; and
  3. medicines which are Schedule 8 ('controlled Drugs, eg Opoid Analgestics'), as defined by the drugs and poisons legislation in the relevant State or Territory.
Note that extemporaneously prepared items (Section 4 of the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefit items cannot be supplied via these arrangements.

Non-PBS medicines and excluded medicines continue to be supplied in the normal manner.

* This includes PBS medicines marked 'Authority Required' in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits. While no hard copy PBS Authority to Prescribe forms are required, Authority or restricted benefit items are only available under these arrangements when they are used in accordance with the relevant restriction or condition. Applicants must declare that they will comply with this provision, when seeking approval to participate in these arrangements.

Further information:

Please email the Department (S100-remotepharmsupport@health.gov.au).