Magazine article Drug Topics

How Restrictive Is Your Formulary?

Magazine article Drug Topics

How Restrictive Is Your Formulary?

Article excerpt

A formulary is a list of drugs from which a managed care organization (MCO) prefers physicians to prescribe and pharmacists to dispense. There are three types. An open formulary is one that lists the preferred drugs but doesn't insist they get used. A restrictive formulary is one in which an MCO uses some financial incentives (or sanctions) to stick to the list. A closed formulary is one in which the MCO makes the list absolute, backed by hefty financial controls.

Pharmacists say the use of increasingly restrictive or closed formularies has made their job more difficult. Pharmacists usually carry the brunt of formulary enforcement without reward, having to call physicians to get prescriptions changed to keep in line with the formulary.

So what sorts of formularies are pharmacists up against? For better or for worse, just about all pharmacists deal with the full gamut of formularies. About 94% of all the respondents said they deal with at least one plan that has an open formulary; 87% said they deal with at least one plan with a closed formulary. …

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