On 1 May 2022 the PBS listing for hydroxychloroquine changed from Authority required (streamlined) to an unrestricted listing.1
At the December 2021 PBAC Meeting, the PBAC found that since hydroxychloroquine was made an Authority required (streamlined) PBS listing on 1 May 2020, the number of PBS prescriptions issued had reduced back to pre-COVID levels and remained stable.2
It should be noted however that even with the 1 May 2022 change to an unrestricted listing, hydroxychloroquine can only be prescribed by general practitioners and nurse practitioners under the PBS for continuing treatment.
This limitation is due to the April 2020 amendment to the Poisons Standard for hydroxychloroquine remains in place. The amendment (Appendix D, item 8) restricted who could authorise initial treatment with hydroxychloroquine to those recognised in the specialist areas of dermatology, emergency medicine, intensive care medicine, physician or paediatrics and child health.3,4
For nurse practitioners, hydroxychloroquine can be prescribed under the PBS where care of a patient is shared between a nurse practitioner and medical practitioner in a formalised arrangement with an agreed management plan. For more information see nurse practitioner PBS prescribing.
A RADAR describing the TGA and PBS changes made in 2020 can be found here.
- Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Summary of Changes (May 2022). Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health, 2022. (accessed 1 May 2022).
- Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Pharmaceutical Benenfits Advisory Committee Outcomes (December 2021). Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health, 2021. (accessed 28 April 2022).
- Therapeutic Goods Administration. Poisons Standard Amendment (Hydroxychloroquine) Instrument 2020. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health, 2020. (accessed 28 April 2022).
- Therapeutic Goods Administration. Poisons Standard February 2022. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health, 2022. (accessed 28 April 2022).