60 Day Dispensing

From 1 September 2023, many patients living with a stable chronic medical condition will be able to access 60-days’ worth of common PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) medicines instead of their usual 30 days’ worth.

Below we answer some of your questions regarding 60 day dispensing. If you have further questions, please speak with your Pharmacist in-store or contact member services on 1300 667 676 or via email here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which medicines are included?

There are more than 300 medicines for which it will be possible for a doctor to prescribe 60 days’ worth. These are being rolled out in 3 groups, with all the qualifying medicines being available for 60-day supply from 1 September 2024.

The first group will include 92 medicines for a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Gout
  • Heart failure
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoporosis
  • Ulcerative Colitis

It is important to note that some strengths, forms, and indications (medical conditions) of a medicine may not be included. You can find more information here.

Can I still use my existing prescriptions?

Yes, you can still use your existing prescriptions however you can only receive the quantity of medicines specified on these existing prescriptions which in most cases will be 30 days’ worth. In other words, your pharmacist is not able to simply dispense 2 lots of your existing 30-day supply prescriptions. If you would like to receive 60 days’ worth of medicine, you will need to see your doctor for a new prescription specifying this.

Does my doctor have to prescribe a quantity of 60 days’ worth of medicine for me?

A patient’s condition must be stable and suitable for a doctor to prescribe 60 days’ worth of medicine at a time. If your condition requires more frequent review, a doctor may choose to prescribe 30 days’ worth of medicine only. This will minimise medicines wastage if your medication changes unexpectedly, and support closer clinical monitoring of patients when required.

Regardless of quantity prescribed, the maximum number of repeats for a medicine is not changing and prescriptions will continue to be valid for a period of 12 months. If you would prefer to continue to receive your medicines as a 30-day supply, you can request this from your doctor.

Why has this policy been proposed and implemented?

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) considered the clinical safety, suitability, and cost-effectiveness of selected PBS medicines for chronic conditions. They found that it was appropriate for 304 medicines to have the option of being supplied at an increased quantity of 60 days’ worth. This change brings us in line with countries such as New Zealand, the UK, France, and Canada and will deliver relief from the increasing costs of living.  

Are there any benefits for me?

Depending on which medicines you are taking, you may benefit from financial savings if your doctor finds it appropriate to provide 60-day prescriptions. Savings will apply to medicines that are government subsidised. These medicines are those where the patient pays a portion of the cost, and the government pays anything over that “co-payment”. Patients who are solely on medicines that are eligible for 60-day dispensing may be able to halve the number of trips to their doctor, thus reducing pressure on the primary health care system.

Do these changes affect the Safety Net?

The Australian government has announced no changes to the Safety Net limits for either concessional or general patients. For some patients 60-day dispensing will reduce their overall costs of medicines such that they no longer reach the safety net, and for others they may reach the limit much later in the year.

I have other questions – who can help me?

The Pharmacists at National Pharmacies are constantly being kept up to date with any changes in the industry and are more than happy to answer any other questions you may have.