Rules for pharmacists

Last updated: 
27 May 2020

Home Medicines Review

Veterans, war widow(er)s and their dependants are also eligible to receive a MBS item 900 Home Medicines Review (HMRs) arranged through their treating LMO/GP and conducted by an accredited pharmacist. There is no requirement for pharmacists to register with DVA prior to providing a HMR service for a veteran/war widow(er).

The Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

The principal objective of the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) is to ensure access to an appropriate range of safe and effective quality pharmaceuticals for veterans/war widow(er)s. The full Schedule of Items listed under the RPBS is available.

Under the RPBS, eligible veterans/war widow(er)s may receive:

  • items listed for supply in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
  • items listed under the RPBS, including wound care products
  • items not listed on either the PBS or RPBS Schedules, if clinically justified.

Prior approval of prescriptions

For eligible veterans/war widow(er)s, LMOs/GPs must obtain prior approval from DVA to prescribe:

  • greater quantities and/or repeats of items listed on the PBS and RPBS Schedules
  • items listed on both the PBS and RPBS Schedules that are 'Authority required'
  • items not listed on either the PBS or RPBS Schedules.

Please use a common PBS/RPBS Authority prescription form to obtain prior approval in the above cases. Authority required prior approvals may be sought either by telephone or in writing.

Prior Approval applications

Prior approval is not required from DVA to prescribe a large range of scheduled pharmaceuticals available under the RPBS. However, prior approval is required from DVA to prescribe:

  • medicines listed as requiring prior approval
  • greater quantities and/or repeats than that listed
  • medicines not listed in the schedules.

Veterans' Affairs Pharmaceutical Advisory Centre

The Veterans' Affairs Pharmaceutical Approvals Centre (VAPAC) 24-hour RPBS prior approval free call number is 1800 552 580.

Reply Paid No. 9998
GPO Box 9998

Requests must give details of the disease or purpose for which the pharmaceuticals are required. Requests for approval of non-scheduled items must explain the reason why scheduled items are not appropriate for the veteran/war widow(er).

LMOs/GPs must provide the necessary information to establish a veteran's/war widow(er)'s eligibility under the RPBS and the clinical justification for the prescription.

DVA will give the LMO/GP a unique RPBS Authority approval number for each approved telephone request. This number must be endorsed on all copies of the Authority prescription.

The original and duplicate copies of the prescription should be given to the veteran/war widow(er) and the third copy (if available) should be retained on the prescription pad for the LMO's/GP's records.

When applications for non-scheduled drug approvals are rejected by VAPAC, the prescriber may seek funding approval under RPBS arrangements by making a written clinical justification for review by the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Reference Committee (RPRC).

Pharmaceutical and health treatment cards

Repatriation Health card — For All Conditions (Veteran Gold Card) holders can obtain pharmaceuticals under the RPBS for all medical conditions.

Repatriation Health Card — For Specific Conditions (Veteran White Card) holders can obtain Pharmaceuticals under the RPBS for their accepted disabilities.

Under Non-Liability Health Care arrangements, Australian veterans may also be covered for malignant cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis and any mental health condition. Medicines for the treatment of other conditions are available under the PBS, either at the general rate, or concession rate (for holders of a Pensioner Concession Card/ Commonwealth Seniors Health Card/ Health Care Card).

Holders of a Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (Veteran Orange Card) can obtain pharmaceuticals under the RPBS for all medical conditions. Veteran Orange Card holders are not entitled to any medical or other health care treatment.

Those also holding a Veteran White Card should continue to use it to obtain treatment and pharmaceuticals related to their accepted disabilities and/or Non-Liability Health Care and use the Veteran Orange Card to obtain pharmaceuticals for all other conditions.

Repatriation Pharmaceutical Reference Committee

The Repatriation Pharmaceutical Reference Committee (RPRC) advises the Repatriation Commission and the Minister on the clinical appropriateness of the range of items available under the RPBS. The Committee ensures that the listed items and their conditions of supply are the most appropriate to meet the special and individual needs of entitled veterans and war widow(er)s.

The RPRC membership comprises clinical experts from various medical specialties such as geriatrics, oncology, palliative care, pharmacology and psychiatry and are nominated by various independent representative bodies.

The Committee usually meets two to three times a year (depending on workload) to review all new listing submissions and any matters relevant to the RPRC. Pharmaceutical companies (sponsors) or their agents are welcome to make new RSPB listing submissions for consideration by the RPRC at this time.

Submissions should be sent to the RPRC Secretariat at the following address no later than six weeks prior to the next meeting:

The Secretariat
Repatriation Pharmaceutical Reference Committee
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
PO Box 9998
Brisbane QLD 4001

For more information on submissions please refer to:

Scheduled RPRC meetings for 2020

13 November 2020 — Submissions to be submitted to the RPRC Secretariat by COB Friday 9 October 2020

Veterans' medicines advice and therapeutics education services (Veterans’ MATES)

The Veterans' MATES program provides information for health professionals to assist their veteran/war widow(er) patients to manage their medical conditions, particularly through appropriate medicine use. Read more about Veterans' MATES or visit Veterans' MATES