Active ingredient prescribing

What you see on prescriptions is changing

From February 2021 onwards, your doctor’s prescription may appear a little different due to ‘active ingredient prescribing’. Read on to find out more.

Active ingredient prescribing

Under new medicine regulations, doctors must include the active ingredient names when preparing prescriptions for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation PBS (RPBS) medicines.

This means most medicines will be prescribed by their active ingredient, not the brand name.

For example, if you were prescribed antibiotics, you may see Amoxicillin (the active ingredient) written on the script instead of the brand name (e.g. Amoxil).

Sometimes the brand name will still be on the script, but the active ingredient should appear first.

What’s an active ingredient?

They’re the ingredients in medicines that have an effect in the body.

Why are scripts changing?

It will help patients understand what medicines they are taking.

The change also aims to:

  • Reduce the risk of patients taking multiple doses of medicines
  • Encourage pharmacists and patients to discuss and use generic medicines
  • Decrease out-of-pocket expenses
  • Make the PBS more sustainable
  • Align Australia with international prescribing practices.

Can my doctor and I still choose specific brands?

Yes, doctors can still include a brand name on the prescription if they believe it’s clinically necessary. And you can still choose your medicine of choice at the pharmacy.

Will this change the cost of my medicine?

There is no change to the cost of PBS or RPBS medicines. However, you may pay less if you choose a generic medicine.

Are generic medicines safe?

Yes. The Therapeutic Goods Administration carefully assesses each generic medicine before it can be sold in Australia. Tests ensure it’s safe and has the same effect as the original brand.

Let us know if you have any questions

Our team of Pascoe Vale doctors are always here to help. Please let us know if you have any questions about your prescriptions.


Source: PBS

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.