Palliative care: New, amended and deleted PBS items

15 Jul 2021

On 1 June 2021, changes were made to several medicines prescribed for palliative care on the Palliative Care Schedule (PCS) and General Schedule. 

These changes were based on recommendations made by PBAC at its September 2020 meeting following its consideration of a Department of Health commissioned review of the PCS. 

New and amended listings were included for opioids for acute severe pain and chronic severe pain on the PCS. They included hydromorphone and morphine IR, fentanyl, methadone, buprenorphine, and hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone and oxycodone with naloxone MR formulations. 

The changes to opioid listings were made to align the PCS with changes to opioid listings on the General Schedule that occurred on 1 June 2020. The changes aim to support the quality of use of opioids, while ensuring timely supply of opioids for pain for palliative care patients on the PBS. 

Listings were also added, amended and deleted for non-opioids, a constipation medicine and some other miscellaneous medicines on the PCS and General Schedule. These included diclofenac, indomethacin, bisacodyl, clonazepam, haloperidol and metoclopramide formulations. 

The non-opioid, constipation and miscellaneous listing changes were made to improve the quality use of these medicines for palliative care on the PBS. The changes included adding new formulations of medicines, broadening the indication for use and increasing repeats. 

For the deleted PCS listings, there are corresponding listings on the General Schedule. The corresponding General Schedule listings have the same or similar restriction/clinical criteria and maximum quantities/repeats as the deleted PCS listings. 

More information about changes to palliative care PBS items is available here.