Helping you transition to active ingredient prescribing

21 Jan 2021

From 1 February 2021, most eligible Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation PBS (RPBS) prescriptions must comply with the new Active Ingredient Prescribing (AIP) requirements. Prescribers should update their prescribing software to new versions that meet these requirements.  

AIP aims to create greater patient awareness of the active ingredients they are taking, to ensure greater consistency in how medicines information is displayed, and to increase the uptake of generic and biosimilar medications where appropriate.   

Under new regulations, doctors must include active ingredient names when preparing prescriptions for PBS and RPBS medicines. The brand name can be included after the active ingredient name on the prescription when the prescriber deems it clinically necessary (for example, if prescribing by active ingredient only is considered impractical, unsafe, or confusing). The decision whether to prescribe a particular brand still lies with the prescriber and their patient. This decision should be recorded in the patient’s record.  

There are some exceptions to AIP, including:  

  • Handwritten prescriptions;  

  • Paper based medication charts in the residential aged care sector;  

  • Medicinal items with four or more active ingredients; and  

  • Other items excluded for safety or practicality reasons.  

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Active Ingredient Prescribing User Guide has been developed to help prescribers determine whether it is best practice to include the brand name on a prescription. The guideline includes links to the List of Medicines for Brand Consideration and the List of Excluded Medicinal Items. Prescribing software should prompt the user if a medicine is on the List for Brand Consideration.  

The Department of Health and NPS MedicineWise have released several communication and educational materials relating to AIP. These documents are available on the NPS website and the PBS website.