PBAC Outcome - Changes to Antibiotic Listings on the PBS

10th October 2019

In 2018-19, the Department of Health (the Department) commenced a review of antibiotic listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) that currently include a repeat when prescribed. The review is part of the Australian Government’s broader ongoing strategy to support best practice prescribing in Australia, as outlined in Australia’s First National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015-2019.


This review is an important step to help support health professionals to engage in antimicrobial stewardship. This includes maintaining the ability to treat infections appropriately, prescribe antibiotic repeats when clinically indicated and reduce inadvertent repeat prescriptions when initiating a course of antibiotics.


The review is being undertaken in stages with the first stage focussing on the top five antibiotics with repeats prescribed (by volume) on the PBS, being:

  • amoxicillin
  • amoxicillin + clavulanic acid
  • cephalexin
  • doxycycline
  • roxithromycin


The department’s review proposed changes to some of the PBS listings for antibiotics listed above.  The review also included consultation with key stakeholders, sponsors of relevant antibiotic listings on the PBS, and the Australian Strategic Technical Advisory Group for Antimicrobial Resistance.


The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) considered the proposed changes to the listing of certain antibiotics to encourage antimicrobial stewardship at its August 2019 Intracycle Meeting.


Today, the outcomes from the PBAC’s August 2019 Intracycle Meeting have been published on the PBS website (pbs.gov.au). The outcome of the PBAC’s consideration of the proposed changes to antibiotic repeats on the PBS is:


Following a review conducted by the Department of Health, the PBAC recommended changes to antibiotic listings for high use items on the PBS with repeat prescription options. The PBAC recommended the removal of repeat options for a range of listings where no repeats were deemed necessary as per the Therapeutic Guidelines. The PBAC also recommended aligning the listings for specific indications to the Therapeutic Guidelines where increased quantities are clinically indicated. The PBAC considered that the recommended changes, aligned as best possible with the current version of the Therapeutic Guidelines (version 16), would support antimicrobial stewardship and quality use of medicines as well as assist in the reduction of antimicrobial resistance.


Please note that an implementation date for the changes has not yet been established. More information on the specific PBS listings considered, changes recommended and implementation timeframes will be provided in the near future.


If you have any questions, please contact the Department at amr@health.gov.au.

Website: If you have questions contact the Department

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