Active Prescribing - Coming 1 Feb 2021

Date: 21 January 2021

As of 1 February 2021, all eligible PBS and RPBS prescriptions will need to include the active ingredient, followed by brand if the prescriber believes it is clinically necessary.

The goal of Active Ingredient Prescribing is to help people understand what medicines they are taking. Under new medicine regulations, doctors must include the active ingredient names when preparing prescriptions for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation PBS (RPBS) medicines. This will mean most medicines will be prescribed by their active ingredient, not the brand name.

The Department of Health has changed legislation to require the inclusion of active ingredients on all PBS and RPBS prescriptions, except for:

  • Handwritten prescriptions;
  • Paper based medication charts in the residential aged care sector;
  • Medicinal items with four or more active ingredients; and
  • Other items excluded for safety or practicality reasons.

For further information and access to resources, visit the PBS webpage.

If you require further assistance, please contact the NSW Branch on 02 9467 7100 or email:

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Page last updated on: 21 January 2021