About cheaper medicines

Many patients can now receive twice the medication on a single prescription.

About cheaper medicines

Many patients can now receive twice the medication on a single prescription. From September 2024 this will apply to around 300 medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

60-day prescriptions are being introduced gradually in three stages over 12 months. The first stage was available from 1 September 2023, the second stage is now available from 1 March 2024 and the third stage will be available from 1 September 2024. 

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended that a patient’s condition must be stable and suitable for the increased maximum dispensed quantity measure.

This means to qualify, patients must:

  • live with a stable ongoing health condition
  • have discussed their medication with their prescriber and be assessed as suitable
  • have received a new 60-day prescription.

The medicines chosen for this program are established, safe and effective medicines. They were considered and recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee as clinically safe and suitable to supply for 60 days

Patients do not need a concessional card to access a 60-day prescription. 
Doctors retain full clinical discretion over what quantity of medicine is prescribed for their patients based on their assessment of their patients condition at the time. 

Ongoing health conditions

The PBS medicines recommended by PBAC as suitable for dispensing in increased quantities now available includes medicines for ongoing health conditions, such as:

Stage 1

  • cardiovascular disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • gout
  • heart failure
  • high cholesterol
  • hypertension
  • osteoporosis
  • ulcerative colitis

Stage 2

  • androgen deficiency
  • arthritis
  • bipolar disorder
  • breast cancer
  • diabetes
  • epilepsy
  • hypothyroidism
  • incontinence
  • menopause
  • migraine
  • prostate cancer
  • prostate enlargement

View the list of medicines currently available for 60-day prescribing

Medicine supply

The move to 60-day prescriptions is not expected to increase medicine shortages as people will still purchase the same amount of medicine each year. While eligible people can now obtain double their medicine on a single prescription, this will last them for a longer period of time, meaning overall demand for medicines will stay the same. 

Most of the medicines PBAC recommended for 60-day prescriptions have no shortage of supply in Australia. When supply shortages do occur, there are usually alternative brands or strengths of the same medicine available. We are monitoring the list of medicines recommended for inclusion in 60-day prescriptions to reduce the risk that medicines being implemented in each stage are not in shortage or at risk of shortage. 

Helping to ensure good medicine supply

Pharmaceutical companies must tell the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of expected medicine shortages. This means any medicine supply not likely to meet normal or expected consumer demand at any point during the next 6 months.

We have made changes to the Medicines Supply Security Guarantee. From 1 July 2023, medicine manufacturers must have more stock onshore for chosen brands. This will help make sure they are ready for pharmacy delivery to meet any temporary increase in demand.

Wholesalers must deliver to any pharmacy in 24 hours (excluding weekends or public holidays) if they are running low on medicine. This applies for most medicines.

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