Changes to the PBS to make medicines more affordable
Page last updated: 23 December 2022
From 1 January 2023, the maximum cost of general prescriptions under the PBS will fall for the first time in the 75-year history of the PBS. It’s important that pharmacists and patients understand the changes and how they will affect them.
PBS Co-Payment Reduction
There are an estimated 19 million general (non-concessional) patients in Australia. From 1 January 2023, the PBS co-payment for general patients will reduce from $42.50 to $30.00. This amount will then be indexed on the first day of every new year, from 1 January 2024.
The reduction will see non‑concessional patients save $12.50 on PBS medicines that are priced at or above the current general co-payment. Pharmacists won’t have to do anything to apply the changes, as software systems will automatically update.
New discretionary discount
From 1 January 2023 general patient medicines with a dispensed price between $30.00 and $45.60 may be discounted to any price below $30.00. The amount charged to the patient will continue to count toward the patient’s general patient PBS Safety Net threshold. This new discretionary discount is not compulsory and is at the discretion of the pharmacy, but pharmacies are encouraged to offer it where they can.
As pharmacies are able to choose to provide a discount (for medicines priced between $30.00 and $45.60), and the amount of that discount, the price of medicines may depend on the pharmacy.
Closing the Gap Program
Patients in the Closing the Gap program won’t pay any more to reach the general PBS Safety Net threshold.
Closing the Gap scripts priced at or above $30.00 will continue to count toward the PBS Safety Net at the current amount of $42.50, rather than at a reduced amount after the co‑payment is lowered to $30.00.
PBS Safety Net
The changes will not change the PBS Safety Net thresholds. General patients may need to fill a larger number of scripts to reach the general PBS Safety Net threshold but they will not pay more to reach the PBS Safety Net and will receive a higher number of scripts for the same cost.
Concessional patients won’t be impacted by these changes. The current concessional co-payment amount of $6.80 will increase to $7.30 from 1 January 2023, in line with annual CPI indexation.
Concessional patients are already receiving benefits from reductions to the PBS Safety Net thresholds on 1 July 2022.
Services Australia administers the PBS. This includes the processing of pharmaceutical
benefits and safety net claims, authority applications and supply of PBS stationery
used by health professionals.
For more information, call 132 290 or visit the Services Australia website.
Further information, visit the Information for Pharmacists page.
The following resources are available to download to help pharmacists and patients understand the changes.