The Closing the Gap (CTG) - PBS Co-payment Program

Page last updated: 8 July 2022

The CTG PBS Co-payment program was established in July 2010 to improve access to affordable PBS medicines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with, or at risk of, chronic disease, and who in their doctor’s opinion would experience setbacks in the prevention or ongoing management of chronic disease if they did not take the prescribed medicine and would be unlikely to adhere to their medicines regimen without assistance through the program.

When obtaining PBS General Schedule medicines at their local pharmacy, eligible general patients who would normally pay the full PBS co-payment will pay the concessional rate and those eligible patients who would normally pay the concessional rate receive their PBS medicines without being required to pay a PBS co‑payment. 

Complementing this Program, and recognising that there may not be pharmacies available to dispense in some remote areas, the Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services (RAAHS) Program allows clients of approved RAAHS to receive medicines from their RAAHS, without the need for a normal PBS prescription form, and without charge. For more information, please visit the Services Australia or the Department of Health and Aged Care

In June 2020, it was announced through the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement, that changes would be made to enhance the CTG PBS Co-payment Program in a number of ways, including:

  • expanding the range of health professionals who are able to register eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the program;
  • enabling any eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person to be registered for the Program, regardless of their chronic disease status and no matter where they live in Australia;
  • removing the need for prescriptions for an eligible PBS medicines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are registered for the program to be annotated with CTG by the prescriber; and
  • enabling prescriptions for eligible PBS medicines issued by PBS prescribers within public hospitals to be eligible when they are dispensed by a community pharmacy or Section 94 Approved Private Hospital pharmacy. 

The Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment Program, which reduces or removes the PBS Co-payment for eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, will apply to medicines supplied under Continued Dispensing from 1 July 2022, where the medicines are eligible for supply under Continued Dispensing arrangements.

Patient Eligibility

The Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment Program is available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of any age who are registered with Medicare, and in the opinion of a prescriber or Aboriginal Health Practitioner (AHP):

  • would experience setbacks in the prevention or ongoing management of a condition if the person did not take the prescribed medicine; and
  • are unlikely to adhere to their medicines regimen without assistance through the program.

Registering for the CTG – PBS Co-payment Program

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are already registered for the Program as at 30 June 2021, do not need to be re-registered for the Program.

From 1 July 2021, any PBS prescriber or eligible AHP can register eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the Program. Registration of eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be via the Services Australia Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) portal and is a one-off registration.

Once an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person has been assessed as being eligible for the program, the PBS prescriber or eligible AHP can authorise a HPOS delegate to act on their behalf to enter the registration details into HPOS. Before they can link their delegate to the HPOS account they will need to register for their own PRODA account.

If a patient is unsure whether they are registered for the program, their Practitioner or the Pharmacist will be able to check via HPOS for them.

In remote areas with limited internet access, a health service or clinic can phone Services Australia on 132 290 to register the patient for the program.

Questions in regards to registering as a Medicare Provider or use of HPOS need to be directed to Services Australia. Contact details can be found at Health professionals contact information – Services Australia.

Eligible PBS medicines and Approved Suppliers

The Program applies to prescriptions for PBS General Schedule medicines only.

CTG prescriptions can only be dispensed at community pharmacies or Section 94 Approved Private Hospital pharmacies.

If a person is registered for the program at the time eligible PBS medicines are dispensed, the co-payment reduction will apply even if the prescription does not have a CTG annotation.

Where brand premiums apply to a PBS medicine covered under this program, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will need to pay the brand premium at the time of dispensing.

Further information?

Questions from pharmacists regarding changes to the dispensing software should be directed to the respective software vendor and questions in relation to PBS claiming can be directed to Services Australia on 132 290.

Data and Expenditure Information

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2010-11

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$2,500,029

$540,774

$117,740

$1,628,786

$447,923

$609,787

$108,311

$116,239

$6,069,589

PBS Items Supplied

343,817

80,911

13,979

212,513

63,600

80,691

14,768

13,304

823,583

 

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2011-12

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$5,457,662

$1,236,246

$408,712

$3,667,974

$1,012,893

$1,579,836

$273,085

$252,889

$13,889,297

PBS Items Supplied

763,210

175,244

45,930

481,083

148,972

207,855

39,615

29,916

1,891,825

 

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2012-13

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$7,438,131

$1,516,325

$646,572

$5,248,183

$1,371,726

$2,203,288

$425,045

$338,910

$19,188,179

PBS Items Supplied

1,051,636

216,394

73,149

698,536

200,102

290,006

62,003

41,025

2,632,851

 

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2013-14

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$9,816,430

$1,683,014

$935,121

$6,827,129

$1,723,315

$3,123,573

$619,307

$428,452

$25,156,341

PBS Items Supplied

1,382,756

247,954

110,735

925,306

254,347

414,799

92,416

53,200

3,481,513

 

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2014-15

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$11,741,443

$2,029,457

$859,690

$8,074,056

$2,202,649

$3,383,061

$774,318

$292,947

$29,357,621

PBS Items Supplied

1,702,570

304,988

108,442

1,138,348

328,891

471,576

120,340

37,333

4,212,488

 

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2015-16

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$13,867,432

$2,540,274

$1,068,012

$9,720,552

$2,305,376

$4,006,622

$956,170

$368,797

$34,833,236

PBS Items Supplied

1,935,642

365,310

132,271

1,325,848

337,071

545,248

144,177

45,228

4,830,795

 

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2016-17

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$14,983,300

$2,779,150

$1,170,832

$10,494,782

$2,496,609

$4,248,077

$1,126,455

$418,742

$37,717,947

PBS Items Supplied

2,075,118

394,522

146,773

1,437,985

361,888

579,473

167,102

50,892

5,213,753

 

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2017-18

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$17,387,065

$3,103,991

$1,359,882

$12,603,143

$2,886,053

$4,847,492

$1,346,824

$417,527

$43,951,977

PBS Items Supplied

2,388,535

432,330

168,712

1,712,128

414,504

654,970

198,529

48,072

6,017,780

 

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2018-19

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$19,180,412

$3,410,127

$1,522,390

$14,204,722

$3,147,669

$5,334,076

$1,559,996

$463,877

$48,823,270

PBS Items Supplied

2,592,734

461,951

184,162

1,890,807

444,189

711,969

227,421

51,678

6,564,911

 

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2019-20

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$21,221,975

$3,907,605

$1,679,021

$16,022,113

$3,423,650

$5,931,343

$1,806,147

$515,827

$54,507,681

PBS Items Supplied

2,834,645

523,357

200,151

2,098,529

473,958

775,910

262,496

56,640

7,225,686

Total Expenditure for Medicines and Number of PBS Items Supplied 2020-21

NSW

VIC

NT

QLD

SA

WA

TAS

ACT

TOTAL

TOTAL ($)

$21,642,040

$4,133,441

$1,739,736

$16,445,334

$3,434,822

$5,946,101

$1,912,211

$569,635

$55,823,320

PBS Items Supplied

2,955,476

564,807

207,666

2,207,032

489,848

784,205

285,258

63,554

7,557,846

Requests for any additional data or further breakdowns should be directed to Services Australia.  Services Australia will evaluate your request in line with their data release policies, and respond accordingly.

Requests to Services Australia for statistical data must be made in writing and clearly state:

  • how the information contributes to improving Australia's health;
  • the type of information required;
  • what the information will be used for; and
  • to whom the information will be disclosed.

Written requests can be sent to:
Health MI Section
Health Support and Performance Branch
Services Australia
PO Box 7788
Canberra BC ACT 2610
or email:  statistics@servicesaustralia.gov.au