PrEP PBS FAQs

PrEP is to be listed on the PBS!

The PBAC committee announced February 9th, 2018 that PrEP will be subsidised on the PBS. More details will be available in the coming weeks regarding access. For the time being check out:
PBS FAQ’s below – or a print ready version for your service, site, or clinic
Read PAN’s Media Release

PrEP is 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 ordinarily expensive medications –like PrEP– more affordable for those of us who need it.

What does this mean for PrEP?

On April 1st pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was made available as a subsidised medication on the PBS.

This means affordable PrEP is available at your local pharmacy! Previously PrEP cost hundreds of dollars a month. PBS listed PrEP means people don’t need to be on a limited clinical study or need to import it from overseas.

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 (if not, don’t worry! you can still import PrEP!)

The PBS price for ‘general’ folks will be $39.50 per month ($118.50 for your three month supply)

You’ll pay less if you have a concession* or are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) person.

*Anyone who has a Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, or a DVA White, Gold, or Orange Card.

  • Per Script

    Full price for a three-month script with Medicare card

    $118.50
  • Per Month

    Full price for one month with Medicare card

    $39.50
  • Per Script

    Concession price for a three-month script with Medicare card

    $19.20
  • Per Month

    Concession price for one month with Medicare card

    $6.40
When Can I Get PrEP?

NOW! You can get PrEP on the PBS from April 1, 2018.

You can also continue your on a study or import PrEP.

Isn’t PrEP more expensive?

Possibly. Some states with clinical studies of PrEP have enabled free or reduced cost PrEP, however these are limited studies that just provided good coverage until the PBS came around.

PrEP on the PBS may be more than you’re used to paying on a study, or from importing – the good news is you have options. You can import PrEP for the cheapest price we’ve ever had (far below the PBS price) and there are a number of pharmacies offering a reduced price for PrEP – in many places a third of the price.

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, but we’d say stick with it. You can withdraw from a study 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 book 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 pan.org.au/doctors

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. There are also cheaper PrEP pharmacies popping up. We’ll continue to add more to our list as they arrange a cheaper price. The good thing is, once your script is in hand you can decide which road to take.

When should I book 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:
pan.org.au/doctors


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, 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 anyone studying, working part time, or unable to afford the cost of PrEP for any reason.

Where can I 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: PAN Links

More questions?

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.