Treatments and tests

How is the cost of medicines to consumers determined?

Many prescription medicines are subsidised under the Australian Government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) (external site).

Under the PBS, a consumer only pays a fixed co-payment towards the actual cost of the medicine. The remaining cost of the medicine is subsidised by the Australian Government, making it more affordable for all Australians.

The co-payment is determined by the Australian Government, which means that the cost of a PBS medicine is the same across Australia.

Medicines dispensed from a WA public hospital:

  • All public hospitals in Western Australia participate in the PBS except Princess Margaret Hospital.
  • The majority of medicines dispensed from a WA public hospital outpatient service will be covered by the PBS.
  • Where a medicine dispensed at a public hospital pharmacy for an outpatient is not on the PBS, there are set prices.

Medicines dispensed at a community pharmacy:

  • Medicines that are not subsidised under the PBS are dispensed as private prescriptions.
  • The cost of these medicines can vary between pharmacies.
  • You may be able to claim a portion of the cost of a private prescription back from your private health insurance fund (ask your pharmacist for a formal receipt).


Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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