Electronic prescriptions use software systems to prescribe, dispense and claim medicines, without the need for a paper prescription. They are an alternative to paper prescriptions, which are still available.
About electronic prescriptions
Electronic prescriptions are part of our work to make the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) more efficient.
Electronic prescriptions have many benefits and do not fundamentally change existing prescribing and dispensing processes. Paper prescriptions are still available, and patients can still choose which pharmacy they attend to fill their prescription.
How they work
Electronic prescribing allows prescribers to use legally conformant software systems to send patients a token for their prescription via SMS or email. The patient then takes it or sends it to their pharmacy.
See the Australian Digital Health Agency’s video for an explanation of how electronic prescriptions work.
Using electronic prescriptions
See the Australian Digital Health Agency for details on using electronic prescriptions.
The agency has information about how the system works for:
Active script list
You can also set up an active script list (ASL) with your pharmacist, which makes it easier for you and your pharmacist to handle multiple prescriptions.
An ASL allows you to manage your prescriptions by safely storing your tokens for your active electronic prescriptions in a consolidated list.
This means you do not have to present each of your tokens separately to receive all your medicines. After you register for an ASL, you can share your list of active prescriptions with your chosen prescribers and dispensers.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated our work in this area and electronic prescriptions are now available across Australia.
The Australian Government changed legislation to make electronic prescribing of PBS medicines legal. States and territories made changes to their legal frameworks to allow for electronic prescriptions in their jurisdiction.
For details of the regulatory framework and state or territory requirements, see Electronic prescribing.
See our resource collection for details of the policies underlying electronic prescribing.