Continued dispensing (updated 15 September 2023)
Continued dispensing is the supply of a standard quantity (usually 1 month’s supply) of an essential Prescription Only Medicines (S4) without a prescription in an emergency.
Prior to COVID-19, PBS Continued Dispensing was limited to oral contraceptives and statins. PBS Expanded Continued Dispensing and state/territory regulation have enabled supply of nearly all Prescription Only Medicines via this temporary measure during COVID-19; subject to professional and regulatory requirements.
These temporary PBS arrangements ended on 1 July 2022 and have been replaced by permanent measures. These permanent PBS Continued Dispensing measures, based of a list of medicine endorsed by PBAC in November 2021:
- include a substantially larger formulary of medicines for stable chronic diseases than what was in place prior to 2019
- do not include a large range of medicines able to be supplied under the temporary measures in place since early 2020.
Tasmania has authorised non-PBS supply (private supply) of most Prescription Only Medicines under permanent regulation changes.
Temporary authorities during the acute phase of COVID-19 pandemic to supply full-pack quantities without a prescription where not covered by PBS Continued Dispensing have now lapsed in all jurisdictions.