A formulary is a list of drugs covered by your prescription plan. This list is made by doctors and pharmacists after reviewing clinical studies. They look at which drugs are most safe and effective, and maximize cost savings. The formulary has a range of generic and brand-name drugs (see below for descriptions) that have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The formulary applies to prescription drugs that are dispensed in retail pharmacies and those delivered to your home through a home delivery pharmacy. If a drug is not on our formulary, it may have one or more FDA-approved alternatives that are covered by your prescription plan.
Review our list of covered drugs to check the formulary status of a drug.
The FDA approves both brand-name and generic drugs. Generic drugs have the same active ingredients, dosage form and strength, and must be absorbed in the body the same way as brand-name drugs.
Generic drugs can be classified as single source or multiple source.
Single Source Generics
These include brand-name drugs that are going off patent and a single manufacturer has exclusive rights to make the drug for a period of time.
Multiple Source Generics
These drugs are defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as products with three or more versions of the product related therapeutically equal (A–rated) no matter what the ratings of other versions (B–rated) and at least three suppliers are listed in the current editions of published national compendia.
A brand name is the trade name under which the drug is advertised and sold. A new drug is protected by a patent, so only one manufacturer can make it. For this reason, brand-name drugs most often cost more than generic drugs. Once a patent runs out, other companies may make a generic equal.