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Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Reform

About the PBS Reform

Download:PBS Reform Brochure (Adobe PDF document - 178KB)

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments are working together to improve the way patients receive their medicines by introducing the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to public hospitals.

The old system

Previously when you have been discharged from hospital you have been provided with up to a seven-day supply of medicine. You would then need to visit your local doctor to obtain a PBS prescription for further medications.

The new system

Under the new system, you will receive a full course or up to one month's supply of medication when discharged from hospital or when you attend a public hospital as an outpatient. The larger quantity of medicines will give you a longer period in which to make arrangements to meet with your doctor or health clinic to seek further advice and ongoing treatment.

Improving your care

As part of the change, staff at NT public hospitals will ensure you leave hospital with a better understanding of the medicines that you are taking. A list of your medicines will also be sent to your doctor or health clinic before your next visit.

This means that your doctor will have up-to-date information about your hospital treatment and medications, improving your overall care.

About the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

The PBS was developed by the Australian Government to ensure that all Australian residents and eligible visitors have access to necessary and life-saving medicines at an affordable price.

Most medicines that are prescribed by doctors are listed on the PBS. Many medicines cost much more than the price that you pay, but the Australian Government provides a subsidy so that you pay much less.


Patients are required to pay a contribution towards the cost of the medications in the same manner they would at their local chemist.

The amount you pay is called the co-payment and is set by the Australian Government. Refer to insert for co-payment and safety net details.

If you hold a Health Care Card issued by Centrelink, the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) or a Safety Net Card, you are entitled to an additional Government subsidy.

How to pay

In the Northern Territory eligible patients can elect to use Centrepay to have the co-payment amount deducted directly from their Centrelink benefit.

Credit Card, EFTPOS and cash taking facilities are also available in all hospitals to make co-payment for medicines on discharge.

For more information on PBS and the Safety Net contact:

Department of Health and Families
Freecall: 1800 020 613

Hearing Impaired Assistance
1800 552 152

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS)
131 450

Web: www.hic.gov.au