Highly Specialised Drugs
Glossary Item Attributes
Identifying and definitional attributes
|Metadata item type:||Glossary Item|
Highly Specialised Drugs (HSDs) are medicines for the treatment of chronic conditions which, prior to 1 July 2015, were restricted to supply through public and private hospitals having access to appropriate specialist facilities because of their clinical use or other special features.
To prescribe these drugs as pharmaceutical benefit items, medical practitioners were required to be affiliated with these specialist hospital units. A general practitioner or non-specialist hospital doctor could only prescribe Highly Specialised Drugs to provide maintenance therapy under the guidance of the treating specialist.
A small number of drugs included in the HSD program became available via community pharmacies from 1 July 2015.
HSDs are subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and administered under Section 100 of the National Health Act 1953 (Cwth).
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Collection and usage attributes
|Guide for use:|
From 1 July 2015, a limited number of Highly Specialised Drugs, e.g. clozapine for the treatment of schizophrenia (maintenance therapy only), HIV antiretroviral medicines and hepatitis B medicines, became available via community pharmacies, thereby removing the requirement for some patients and prescribers to be affiliated with a hospital setting.
Source and reference attributes
|Steward:||Department of Health and Aged Care|
Office of Parliamentary Counsel, ComLaw website 2014. National Health Act 1953 (Cwth). Office of Parliamentary Counsel, Canberra. Viewed 22 September 2015,
Department of Health 2015. Section 100 – Highly Specialised Drugs Program web page. Department of Health, Canberra. Viewed 12 November 2015,
Department of Health 2015. Highly Specialised Drugs web page. Department of Human Services, Canberra. Viewed 12 November 2015,
|Metadata items which use this glossary item:|
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription drug broad category code XX