Opioid dependence treatment medicines (Australia) – changes to access from 1 July 2023

In Australia, access to opioid dependence treatment (ODT) is changing. As part of the 2023-24 Federal Budget Measure announcement, from 1 July 2023, there will be a nationally consistent approach for patients requiring ODT services provided by community pharmacies.

From 1 July 2023, ODT medicines will become part of the Section 100 Highly Specialised Drugs (HSD) Program  (Community Access) arrangements. Under the Section 100 HSD Program, PBS-eligible patients will pay the PBS co-payment to access their treatment (for up to 28 days’ supply per pharmaceutical benefit prescribed) and the amount paid will contribute towards their PBS Safety Net threshold. Additional private dispensing or dosing fees cannot be charged.

Further information and Factsheets can be found on the Opioid Dependence Treatment Program section on the PBS website.

Harm Reduction Australia has also published a consumer fact sheet on the ODT changes.

The RANZCP is strongly supportive of these reforms, that are long overdue and will make ODT more affordable and bring parity between the costs of ODT and other treatments.

Consistency of access to ODT across all of Australia is important. The RANZCP is aware of concerns that rapid implementation of this policy may have several unintended negative impacts on the accessibility of ODT in the short-term. Gradual implementation and extended transitional arrangements may therefore be required in some areas whilst prescribers, clinics, and community and hospital pharmacies adapt to the new scheme. The RANZCP supports efforts at all levels of government to ensure uninterrupted access to these essential medicines, especially for our most vulnerable service users such as people in prisons or experiencing homelessness.


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