Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains frequently asked questions about applying for approval to become a PBS approved supplier

Page last updated: 17 April 2020

Applications

I am a pharmacist – how do I apply to become a PBS approved supplier?
I am buying an approved pharmacy – do I need to apply for approval to change ownership?
I am a medical practitioner - how do I apply to become a PBS approved supplier?
How do I apply to become a PBS approved supplier on behalf of a hospital authority?
Where can I find information about the Pharmacy Location Rules?
Where can I find the meeting dates for the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority?
How long does the application process take?
Do I need to complete an application form?
How do I lodge my application?
How do I request temporary pharmacy closure (deactivation)?
What should I do if my pharmacy is affected by disaster?
What should I do in the event of bankruptcy or external administration?
What should I do if an approved pharmacist dies?

Accessing the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal

What is the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?
How do I access the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?
Do I need myGovID to register for the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?
Can I continue to use AUSkey to access the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?
What is myGovID?

Using the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal

Where can I find user guides for the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?
Can I view the status of my application in the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?

Administrative matters

How do I claim for PBS medicines?
How do I obtain PBS stationery?
Which PBS approved supplier administrative functions does the Department of Health manage?
Which PBS approved supplier administrative functions does Services Australia (formerly the Department of Human Services) manage?
How do I contact the Department of Health?

Application Fees and payment

Why are pharmacy approval application fees being introduced?
When are application fees being introduced?
Will I need to pay the application fee if I submitted my pharmacy approval application before 1 July 2020?
How much are the pharmacy approval application fees?
Which application types will incur an application fee?
How were the pharmacy approval application fees set?
How do I pay the application fee?
What happens if I don’t submit the notification of payment details form with my application?
Can I pay the invoice via credit card?
Can I pay the invoice via BPAY or EFT?
If there are other applications ahead of mine for the same location, and mine is likely to be rejected as a result, why should I pay the full application fee?
If my application is deferred by the ACPA and further information requested, do I have to pay another?
If my application is deemed invalid because I haven’t provided the correct information and I need to resubmit, will I have to pay another fee?
What happens if I withdraw my application after I’ve paid? Do I get a refund?
Is there a fee for Ministerial Discretion?
Is there a fee for medical practitioners or hospital authorities seeking approval?

Applications

I am a pharmacist – how do I apply to become a PBS approved supplier?

Apply to become a PBS approved supplier via the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal. For additional information, please refer to Information for pharmacists.

I am buying an approved pharmacy – do I need to apply for approval to change ownership?

New owners must be approved to supply PBS medicines. For information about how to apply, please refer to Information for pharmacists - Change pharmacy ownership (not involving relocation).

I am a medical practitioner - how do I apply to become a PBS approved supplier?

Apply to become a PBS approved supplier via the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal. For additional information, please refer to Information for Medical Practitioners.

How do I apply to become a PBS approved supplier on behalf of a hospital authority?

Apply to become a PBS approved supplier via the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal. For additional information, please refer to Information for Hospital Authorities.

Where can I find information about the Pharmacy Location Rules?

Please refer to the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority web page.

Where can I find the meeting dates for the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority?

Please refer to the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority web page.

How long does the application process take?

For applications made under the Pharmacy Location Rules, please refer to the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority web page which provides lodgement periods for the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority meetings. The Pharmacy Location Rules Applicant’s Handbook provides information about the application process and timeframes.

For change of ownership application timeframes, please refer to Information for pharmacists.

Do I need to complete an application form?

Under the National Health Act 1953 and the National Health (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Regulations 2017, applications for certain approvals must be in a form approved by the Secretary. Therefore, applications will be accepted only on the current approved forms available on the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal or from the Department of Health – PBS Approved Suppliers website.

How do I lodge my application?

All applications for approval to establish a new pharmacy, or relocate and/or change ownership of an approved pharmacy, must be lodged via the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal using the online form. Other application types and forms must be lodged in accordance with the lodgement instructions provided on each form. For detailed instructions on how to lodge an application or other form via the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal, please refer to the user guides.

How do I request temporary pharmacy closure (deactivation)?

An approved pharmacist that needs to close their pharmacy temporarily must first request deactivation, in writing, before ceasing supply of pharmaceutical benefits. Further information is available in the Department of Health's Deactivation Guidelines.

What should I do if my pharmacy is affected by disaster?

If the pharmacy is affected by disaster, permission to supply PBS medicines at alternative premises for a temporary period can be obtained. To apply, email pbsapprovedsuppliers@health.gov.au and include details and evidence of the disaster and the alternative premises.

What should I do in the event of bankruptcy or external administration?

Please refer to bankruptcy of an approved pharmacist or external administration of a pharmacy.

What should I do if an approved pharmacist dies?

Please refer to death of an approved pharmacist.

Accessing and registering for the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal

What is the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?

The PBS Approved Suppliers Portal allows for online lodgement of:

  • applications for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits
  • related PDF forms, for example notification of bank account details or authority to authorise pharmacists to sign claim forms
  • additional documents that may have been requested by the Department of Health or the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority
  • surrounding pharmacy comments

How do I access the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?

The PBS Approved Suppliers Portal is available at pbsapprovedsuppliers.health.gov.au/. Please refer to the user guide How to register and sign in.

Do I need myGovID to register for the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?

Yes, you will need your myGovID credential to register for access to the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal. Please note, the Department of Health is not responsible for administering myGovID. Detailed information about how to set up myGovID is available from the Australian Taxation Office Online Services website.

Can I continue to use AUSkey to access the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?

No, the Australian Taxation Office decommissioned the AUSkey service on 27 March 2020. If you have not already done so, you will need to set up your myGovID credential. Detailed information about how to set up myGovID is available from the Australian Taxation Office Online Services website.

What is myGovID?

myGovID is the Australian Government’s digital identity provider that allows you to prove who you are online. Relationship Authorisation Manager is an authorisation service that allows you to act on behalf of a business online when linked with your myGovID. Further information about myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager is available from the Australian Taxation Office Online Services website.

Using the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal

Where can I find user guides for the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?

The following user guides provide information about navigating and using the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal:

Can I view the status of my application in the PBS Approved Suppliers Portal?

Yes, from ‘My Dashboard’ you can view a list of your applications or documents uploaded via the ‘Upload Document(s)’ tab, and check the status of submitted applications and other PDF forms.

Administrative matters

How do I claim for PBS medicines?

Further information about claiming for the PBS is available on the Services Australia website.

Please note, PBS claim payments are managed by Services Australia, not the Department of Health. Therefore, all PBS claim enquiries should be directed to Services Australia on 132 290.

How do I obtain PBS stationery?

PBS stationery for eligible approved suppliers is available for ordering through the Camerons Group. To register to order PBS stationery, you will need to email the Camerons Group at pbs@camerons.net. Once registered, your online account will allow you to order PBS stationery relevant to your approval. Further information on how obtain PBS stationery is available on the Services Australia website.

Which PBS approved supplier administrative functions does the Department of Health manage?

Section 90:

  • New and relocation applications
  • Change of ownership applications
  • Expansion and contraction applications
  • Ministerial discretions
  • Application withdrawals
  • Cancellation of a s90 approval
  • Authority for a pharmacist to act
  • Emergency relocations

Updates to a pharmacy including:

  • Change of business (trading) name
  • Change of directors/trustees
  • Deactivation requests
  • Banking details
  • Change of an approved person’s surname
  • Change of pharmacy address where no relocation is involved
  • Power of attorney requests
  • Dissolution of partnerships

Section 91:

  • Applications to supply pharmaceutical benefits following the death of an approved pharmacist

Section 91A:

  • Applications to supply pharmaceutical benefits at alternative premises due to disaster

Section 91B:

  • Applications to supply pharmaceutical benefits following the bankruptcy of an approved pharmacist
  • Applications to supply pharmaceutical benefits following when a pharmacy is under external administration
  • Authority for a pharmacist to act
  • Banking details

Section 92:

  • Temporary or permanent application for a doctor in a rural setting
  • Cancellation of a s92 approval
  • Banking details

Section 94:

  • Public or Private hospital applications
  • Authority for a pharmacist to act
  • Cancellation of a s94 approval
  • Banking details

Which PBS approved supplier administrative functions does Services Australia (formerly the Department of Human Services) manage?

  • PBS claim payments
  • Applications for PBS online claiming (PKI certificates)
  • Applications for ABN & tax invoice agreements processing
  • PBS stationery contract
  • PBS Safety Net claim

How do I contact the Department of Health?

If you have any questions about applying for approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits, please email details of your enquiry to pbsapprovedsuppliers@health.gov.au or call PBS Approved Suppliers on 1800 316 389.

Application Fees and payment

Why are pharmacy approval application fees being introduced?

In the 2018-19 Budget, the Government announced its decision to fully recover costs for the pharmacy approval process, commencing on 1 July 2019.

When are application fees being introduced?

The legislation specifies application fees are to be introduced commencing 1 July 2020.Pharmacy approval applications submitted on or after this date will incur a fee.

Will I need to pay the application fee if I submitted my pharmacy approval application before 1 July 2020?

Pharmacy approval applications submitted and received prior to 1 July 2020 will not incur an application fee.

How much are the pharmacy approval application fees?

The fee for applications assessed by the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority, is $5530 The fee for applications assessed by the Department of Health is $920.

Which application types will incur an application fee?

From 1 July 2020, the fee for applications assessed by the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority will be $5,530 and will apply to applications for approval to: establish a new pharmacy to supply pharmaceutical benefits, and relocate an approved pharmacy (with or without change of ownership).

From 1 July 2020, the fee for applications assessed by the Department of Health will be $920 and will apply to applications for approval to: change ownership of an approved pharmacy (not involving relocation), and expand or contract the size of an approved pharmacy.

How were the pharmacy approval application fees set?

The approach used to determine the costs of this regulatory charging activity was an Activity-Based Costing (ABC) methodology for the allocation of all direct and indirect costs to the pharmacy approval activities. Direct and indirect costs were estimated based on the average time required to assess one application.

Further information is available from The Cost Recovery Implementation Statement: Approval process for pharmacists seeking to provide Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines 2020-21

How do I pay the application fee?

From 1 July 2020, you must submit the notification of customer details form with your application. The Department will then issue an invoice for you to pay upon receipt. Payment of the fee must be finalised within seven calendar days from the date of the invoice. To ensure your payment is finalised within seven calendar days, you should make payment as soon as you receive your invoice. Details of how to pay the invoice will be provided on the invoice. Options for payment will include credit card (preferred), EFTPOS or BPay.

What happens if I don’t submit the notification of payment details form with my application?

The legislation requires that the application fee must accompany the application; therefore, from 1 July 2020, you must submit the notification of payment details form with your application to allow the Department to raise an invoice. If you do not provide this form, your application will be deemed invalid and you will need to resubmit it with the notification of payment details form attached. Lodgement will be recorded as the date and time the application is resubmitted which may push the application down the queue.

Can I pay the invoice via credit card?

Yes, if you elect to pay via credit card (the preferred option), when you receive your invoice you can phone through your credit card details to the Department between 9am‑5pm on a business day in the Australian Capital Territory. The Department will process your payment immediately and send a receipt via email. Full details for credit card payments will be provided on the invoice.

Can I pay the invoice via BPAY or EFT?

Yes, when you receive your invoice, if you elect to pay the invoice via BPAY or EFT, the Department will take into account that it takes approximately two business days for BPAY or EFT payments to be processed and credited into the Department’s account. The Department does not issue receipts for BPAY or EFT payments.

If there are other applications ahead of mine for the same location, and mine is likely to be rejected as a result, why should I pay the full application fee?

All applications to establish a new or relocate an existing pharmacy go through the same checking and assessment processes by both the Department and the ACPA, regardless of whether there are multiple applications for the same location or where an application sits in the queue. As the fees are to recover costs associated with these regulatory processes, payment of the full application fee applies.

If my application is deferred by the ACPA and further information requested, do I have to pay another fee?

No, if the ACPA requests further information for consideration at a later meeting or out of session, you will not be required to pay another fee.

If my application is deemed invalid because I haven’t provided the correct information and I need to resubmit, will I have to pay another fee?

No, if on preliminary review your application is deemed invalid by the Department because you have not provided the correct information or documents, you will be asked to resubmit the application. While you will not have to pay another fee, lodgement will be recorded as the date and time the application is resubmitted, which may push it down the queue.

What happens if I withdraw my application after I’ve paid? Do I get a refund?

You can withdraw your application at any time; however, no refunds will be issued once an invoice for the application fee has been paid.

Is there a fee for Ministerial Discretion?

No, fees do not apply when requesting Ministerial Discretion, which is considered an appeal process, not a regulatory activity. Therefore, requests for Ministerial Discretion are not subject to cost recovery fees.

Is there a fee for medical practitioners or hospital authorities seeking approval?

Applications from medical practitioners or hospital authorities seeking approval to supply pharmaceutical benefits will not incur a fee.