Prescription drug dispensing

Data on prescription medicine dispensing in this report are sourced from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Data from the PBS provide information on the number of prescriptions dispensed and the number of patients supplied at least one script within a given financial year. The PBS database includes information on medicines that may be used for non-medical purposes (including opioids, benzodiazepines and gabapentinoids) and medicines that are used to help people stop their smoking or alcohol consumption (smoking and alcohol cessation medicines). See Box PHARMS1 for more information on non-medical use of pharmaceuticals and Box PHARMS2 for information on the PBS.

The following data visualisation contains information on PBS dispensing of selected medicines in Australia from 2012–13 to 2020–21, by drug class and remoteness area or state and territory. Click to view data for opioids, benzodiazepines, gabapentinoids, smoking cessation medicines or alcohol cessation medicines by geographic region or state/territory.

PBS prescriptions dispensed or patients who were dispensed selected medicines, by drug class and remoteness area or state/territory, 2012–13 to 2020–21 (number or rate per 100,000)

This figure shows that the age-standardised rate of opioid scripts dispensed increased from 53,801 per 100,000 population in 2012–13 to 58,485 per 100,000 in 2015–16, before declining to 48,198 per 100,000 in 2020–21. The rate of benzodiazepine scripts dispensed steadily decreased from 26,496 per 100,000 population in 2012–13 to 18,133 per 100,000 in 2020–21.