Sources of data for use in generating utilisation estimates

Page last updated: 22 June 2020

A number of sources of data are available to be used when preparing utilisation estimates for submissions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). Some key sources of data are summarised below.

Australian Government Sources

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Department of Health, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

  • PBS statistics including the Australian Statistics on Medicines (ASM) annual publication. The data available in the ASM represent estimates of the aggregate community use of prescription medicines in Australia. Estimates of private prescriptions ceased in 2012.
  • The Date-of-Processing and Date-of-Supply tables provide PBS Section 85 prescription and expenditure information on both the date-of-supply and the date‑of-processing

Services Australia

  • Statistics for payment and services
    • Pharmaceutical Benefits and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Schemes (Does not include data on under-copayment or private prescriptions. Data is reported based on month of processing)
    • Practice Incentives Program and Service Incentive Payments
    • Medicare Benefits Scheme

State and National Linked Data Sources

Medicine utilisation data can be linked with multiple data sources on a state level which provide results that can be generalised nationally. Such linkages will enable individual level studies of medicine use and associated health outcomes.

  • Population Health Research Network
    The Population Health Research Network (PHRN) is a program aimed at creating Australia's first national data linkage network.  Established with the backing of the Australian Government (as part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy) and supported by every Australian state and territory, the PHRN is building a network that will enable existing health data from around the nation to be brought together and made available for vital health and health related research purposes.  This research enables health care planners, providers and policy makers to respond more effectively to the changing needs of the Australian population.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
    The linkage of Commonwealth/national data is conducted under the Commonwealth Data Integration Scheme. Researchers seeking to link Commonwealth data should contact the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The AIHW can guide applicants through the Scheme.

Commercial and Other Sources

The following sources provide data and analysis services that may be useful in generating utilisation estimates for submissions to the PBAC and have previously been used in submissions to the PBAC.

Disease or gender based sources

Information on specific medical conditions is available from a number of sources such as disease state specific organisations, associations, foundations and research institutes.  More general information is available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Feedback, including suggestions for additional sources or organisations who wish to be added, is welcome and should be forwarded to:

Email: Drug Utilisation Section (
Drug Utilisation Section
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848
MDP 910
Canberra ACT 2601