Electronic prescribing

What is electronic prescribing?

Electronic prescribing allows for the prescribing and dispensing of medicines without the need for a paper prescription, which can improve efficiency and medicines safety.

Electronic prescribing updates

The Australian Government has committed continued investment for prescription delivery services and enhancements which supports the exchange of nearly 300 million prescriptions each year.

The national Prescription Delivery Service (PDS) launched on 1 July 2023 and to continue prescribing eligible medicines, GPs are required to be connected to the national PDS.

What does this mean for me?

To continue prescribing PBS medications, all providers need to be connected to the eRx script exchange gateway. From 16 November 2023, prescribers will be unable to provide electronic PBS scripts through MediSecure and you will receive an error message. You will still be able to provide paper scripts and print prescriptions, however they will contain an inactive barcode.  

What are my next steps?

To continue prescribing PBS medications, please register with eRx by visiting https://www.erx.com.au/register/, emailing eprescribing@erx.com.au, or calling 1300 700 921.

If you are already connected to eRx Script Exchange no action is required at this time.

If you are unsure if your practice is connected to eRx Script Exchange, contact your prescribing software provider for more information.

Does this apply to paper scripts?

This advice applies to computer generated scripts that are printed and hand signed, paper scripts that contain a barcode or QR code and all electronic prescriptions. The only exception to these requirements are scripts that are handwritten, hand-signed and do not contain a barcode or QR code.

How do electronic prescriptions work?


Instead of a paper prescription, the patient can choose to receive their prescription via an app, SMS or email in the form of a link to a unique QR code or ‘token’.

The token is scanned by the pharmacy to unlock the electronic form of the prescription from an encrypted and secure electronic prescription delivery service. If the patient has a repeat for a prescription, they will receive a new token from the pharmacy that replaces the original token.

Active Script List (ASL)

An Active Script List is a digital list of a patient’s electronic prescriptions. Once registered, patients no longer need to keep track of each electronic prescription token. The ASL allows patients to attend any participating pharmacy, provide consent for the pharmacy to access their list, and have that pharmacy dispense their medicines.

Once patients register at a pharmacy for an ASL, any electronic prescriptions they are issued are automatically added to their ASL. Patients can choose for their medicines not to be added to the ASL at the point of prescribing and GPs can manage these requests via their clinical information systems.

How do I get started?

Electronic prescribing is now available in most parts of Australia and you are encouraged to commence electronic prescribing, taking into consideration your patients preferred prescription choice.

Before commencing:
  • ensure your local pharmacies are ready to dispense electronic prescriptions
  • ensure your practice has a Healthcare Provider Identifier-Organisation (HPI-O) and is connected to the Health Identifiers Service
  • ensure your practice is connected to the national Prescription Delivery Service (PDS)
  • ensure patient phone and email addresses are current so they can receive tokens
  • ensure your clinical information system is current which will ensure it is conformant
  • ensure your practice team are up-to-date with electronic prescribing
  • discuss the option of receiving a prescription electronically with your patients.

SMS subsidy funding extended indefinitely

The cost of electronic prescribing  SMS notifications are free for general practices connected to the eRx Script Exchange gate, which is funded through the national PDS.

Electronic prescribing eLearning and professional development

The Australian Digital Health Agency offers free continuing professional development (CPD) accredited online training. The eLearning modules can assist with providing an introduction to what an electronic prescription is, how it is prescribed and dispensed, the benefit of the ASL, and the policy requirements and legislation that underpin the process.

For training and resources, visit the Australian Digital Health Agency's electronic prescribing page for prescribers

Resources for GPs


Australian Digital Health Agency 


Resources for patients


Australian Digital Health Agency


Webinar recording – Electronic prescribing update 2021

Originally recorded: 25 May 2021

To access the webinar resource pack, and Quick log 2 CPD points for watching the webinar, visit the webinar landing page.