The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) has recently made changes to the listings of some commonly prescribed antibiotics. These updates are in response to a Department of Health review in which one in five repeat antibiotic prescriptions were found to be dispensed more than 30 days after the original prescription. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommended changes to reduce unnecessary repeat prescriptions and improve antimicrobial stewardship.

The antibiotics affected are amoxicillin, amoxicillin with clavulanic acid, cefalexin, and roxithromycin. From 1st April 2020, these listings were amended so that the maximum quantity corresponded with a full treatment course for specific indications. New listings for greater quantities and repeats were created that required a valid streamlined authority code. In many of these cases, prolonged oral antibiotic therapy was only subsidised for patients initiated on intravenous therapy.

From 1st May 2020, these new streamlined authority listings were further updated so that prolonged antibiotic therapy is now available to patients regardless of whether treatment was initiated using oral or intravenous therapy.

The PBS website should be consulted for complete clinical criteria.


  1. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Public Summary Document: Antibiotic repeats on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (August 2019 PBAC Meeting). Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health; 2019.
  2. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Revised PBS listings for antibiotic use. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health; 2020.

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