PrEP On The PBS
PrEP is listed on the PBS!
What is the PBS exactly?
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is a government program to make medications affordable.
Under the PBS, you pay a small proportion (a ‘co-payment’) of the cost of your medication and the Government pays the rest. This makes ordinarilly expensive medications –like PrEP– more affordable for those of us who need it.
What does this mean for PrEP?
On February 9th 2018 the advisory committee that decides which medications to subsidise recommended for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to be subsidised by the PBS.
This means affordable PrEP is available here in Australia from April 1st 2018!
How much will PrEP cost?
The price of PrEP on the PBS will vary depending on your circumstances. You will need to have a Medicare card.
For most people, a 3 months supply of PrEP will cost $118.50 - or $39.50 per month. You may be able to pay less If you have a concession card* ($6.40 per month) or are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) person.
*Concessions may include: Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, or a DVA White, Gold, or Orange Card. You will need to check your eligibility with the appropriate authority.
DVA card holders can contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for more information: 1800 555 254
When Can I Get PrEP?
NOW! All Pharmacies in Australia can now dispense PrEP!
Isn’t the PBS more expensive?
for some, it is. Some states with clinical studies of PrEP have enabled free or reduced cost PrEP. Essentially those studies get to set their own price. The PBS is the same, so while it may be higher for some - it will be the same across the board for everyone.
The new PBS price might be a shift for you, however the PBS subsidised price of PrEP means affordable PrEP is here to stay.
If you are self-importing PrEP, you will be able to get PrEP lower than the PBS price (around half the price from some suppliers) so this is still a very attractive option for some PrEPsters. you can still import PrEP.
Should I stay on a study?
Some clinical studies are due to finish soon, and will line up nicely with the availability of PBS subsidised PrEP. Some of them are due to continue for some time. Should you stay on the study? That is completely up to you, we’d say stick with it. You can withdraw any time; however the cost of PrEP on the studies are lower than the PBS while they are running.
When it’s time for your last study appointment, talk with your doctor about continuing PrEP. You can remain with the same GP, or you can find another not part of the study if you wish.Some studies are even still enrolling participants: find out more on pan.org.au/studies
When should I make an appointment?
We have thousands of people on clinical studies and importing PrEP. This is creates huge demand in some clinics, as they continue to support exisitng PrEP clients, regular sexual health screening, and people living with HIV accessing care and treatment. But, never fear!
Because PrEP can be prescribed by any GP, you don’t have to visit a sexual health clinic specifically to get a PrEP script. You can visit your preferred local GP. We recommend making an appointment for around a month before you need it. A list of GPs we know are prescribing PrEP at:
I’m importing, should I switch?
Both have benefits. If you import PrEP, you’ll have access to the lowest cost imported PrEP ever. The cost of PrEP online will change depending on the dollar exchange rate. You’ll also need to wait for it to arrive in the post. This is only about a week or so.
The choice is yours.
If you buy PrEP locally, you’ll have it same-day. It will be the same price every time you buy it, but this may be slightly more than importing. The good thing is, once your script is in hand you can decide which road to take.
Does my GP know about PrEP?
Some do, some don’t. GPs cater to a whole range of health needs for their regular patients – they can’t know everything. If they haven’t prescribed PrEP before, don’t worry! Put them in touch with us. We can link them in with other regular PrEP prescribers and clinical resources like ASHM (the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine) which govern the guidelines on how PrEP is best prescribed, and taken.
What if I can’t afford PrEP?
If the cost of the PBS co-payment at your pharmacy is beyond your circumstances, you have options. You cna import PrEP form overseas for around half the price - or you can get in touch with us for some assistance.
For anyone unable to afford the cost of importing PrEP, PAN has a coupon scheme available to provide PrEP to those under financial hardship.
Wanna learn more?
The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations has also prepared a valuable fact sheet on PrEP access via the PBS
Head to www.afao.org.au
Want to read the PBAC recommendation yourself?
Head to: The PBAC Meeting Outcomes page of the PBS website
If you want to talk to your local state based LGBTI health organisations, national organisations, and other great peer advocacy groups get in touch with them
Head to: Our links page
Still got concerns or burning questions? Get in touch with us! We can help answer any questions you have about PrEP, the PBS, imprting , general sexual health questions, and help you navigate your PrEP journey.