Readers are invited to write in with their questions about decisions of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). Australian Prescriber publishes selected questions from readers, together with answers from the PBAC. Questions may address issues such as regulatory decisions, pharmaceutical benefits listings and withdrawals.

This exclusive arrangement helps Australian Prescriber readers understand how the contents of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS, see are determined.

Letters and responses are reviewed by the Editorial Executive Committee and may be edited before publication. It may not be possible to reply to all individual questions.


Sir, - For some time I have wondered why salbutamol for intravenous use is not listed in the Emergency Drugs section of the PBS. It is significantly better than terbutaline, and would be most useful when faced with an acute severe asthmatic episode, not responding to nebulised salbutamol, aminophylline and hydrocortisone.

Could intravenous salbutamol be considered for inclusion in the Emergency Drugs listing?

Margaret Beavis
General Practitioner
Elwood, Vic.

PBAC response

Some years ago, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee considered a doctor's request for the listing of salbutamol injection 500 micrograms in 1 mL as a pharmaceutical benefit. Advice was sought from the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand and, subsequently, the Committee recommended that this preparation be made available as an unrestricted benefit as well as an Emergency Drug (Doctor's Bag) Supplies item.

However, no Australian manufacturer was prepared to submit the data necessary to allow listing to proceed and, until this information is received, salbutamol injection cannot be made available as a pharmaceutical benefit.


The Executive Editorial Board is most grateful to all the readers who took part in the 1993 readership survey. Your replies will help the Editorial Board to provide you with the information you need in your work.

Our thanks also go to Oxford University Press for donating the Oxford Textbook of Medicine and the Victorian Medical Postgraduate Foundation for donating sets of therapeutic guidelines as prizes.