Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

February 13th 2018


Many medicines cost more than the price you pay-some cost thousands of dollars. The Australian Government subsidises the cost of a wide range of prescription medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). All Australian residents and eligible overseas visitors can access affordable medicines through the PBS.

What is the PBS Safety Net?

The PBS safety net reduces the cost of prescription medicines for individuals and families once the PBS Safety Net threshold is reached. If you or your family needs a lot of medicines in a year, the PBS Safety net helps you with the cost of your medicines.

What is a Safety Net Threshold?

The PBS Safety Net is calculated on a calendar year and resets at the beginning of each year. The thresholds are updated on 1 January.

The 2018 PBS Safety Net threshold is:

  • $1,521.80 for general patients, or
  • $384 for concession card holders

Before you meet the threshold, your medication will cost:

  • up to $39.50 for general patients, or
  • up to $6.40 for concession card holders

(This may vary depending on brand and private items)

Your pharmacist can tell you when you’re close to reaching the threshold. You can ask them about getting a PBS Safety Net Card. This card will be valid for the rest of the year.

You can reach the PBS Safety Net using prescriptions filled at:

  • community pharmacies
  • private hospitals approved to supply PBS medicine, or
  • out-patient pharmacies at public hospitals

Recording your PBS Medicines

If you use multiple pharmacies or plan to travel within Australia, we have Prescription Record Forms available. You will need to keep a record of your PBS medicines. You can then tell when you are at the Safety Net threshold.

At Campbell & Freebairn Chemists we automatically keep a record for you of all your medicines dispensed by us. And if you have travelled and had scripts done, please bring in your Prescription Record Form and we can add those to your tally.

Does brand matter with Safety Net values?

If you choose a more expensive brand of medicine, you may need to pay more. The extra amount wont count towards your PBS Safety Net threshold. Talk to your pharmacist if you’re not sure.

PBS Safety Net Family

Sometimes we will ask about your family situation, so we can be sure we are including everyone’s scripts to reach the Safety Net threshold.

A family comprises:

  • a couple legally married and not separated, or a couple in a de facto relationship, with or without dependent children, or
  • a single person with dependent children

Note: a dependent is someone younger than 16 years old or a full-time student younger that 25 years attending school, college or university, who is wholly or substantially supported financially.

Where can you find out more?

All the staff at Campbell & Freebairn Chemists are able to explain the Safety Net system to you!

There is valuable information on the following Government website or phone their Information line: 132290

Do we have you and your eligible family members linked together for safety Net?

Please discuss with our staff!

We don’t want anyone to miss out



Emma & Brendon