PBS News

Reforming Opioid Dependence Treatment Access

Page last updated: 10 May 2023

In the 2023-24 Budget, the Australian Government committed $377.3 million over 4 years from 2023–24 (and $98.4 million ongoing) to reforming opioid dependence treatment (ODT) access. An ODT community pharmacy program will be established from 1 July 2023 which will deliver a nationally consistent approach for patients requiring opioid dependence treatment services provided by community pharmacies.

In addition, in March 2023, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) considered the Interim Report for the Post-market Review of ODT medicines and made a recommendation for ODT medicines to be listed on the PBS Section 100 Highly Specialised Drugs (HSD) Program (Community Access). The Web Outcome is now available.

These changes will mean, for the first time, that people prescribed medicines listed on the PBS for the treatment of opioid dependence will pay a PBS co-payment to access their treatment (for up to 28 days’ supply per pharmaceutical benefit prescribed) and the amount paid will contribute towards their PBS Safety-Net. Additional private dispensing or dosing fees cannot be charged by pharmacies to patients for access to ODT medicines.

It will also mean consistency of access across all of Australia – everyone accessing opioid dependence treatment from pharmacies will pay the same, regardless of where they are in Australia, and it enables important supply to people in correctional facilities and to GP clinics.

Further information for prescribers, pharmacies and patients about the PBS listing changes for ODT medicines will be published on the Opioid Dependence Treatment website when available.