Pharmacy Q&A


Q. What is a drug formulary (list of drugs)?

A. Do you ever worry about how much your prescription drug will cost? Did you know that Molina Healthcare has a list of drugs that it pays for? This is called a drug formulary. If you use a drug on the list, Molina Healthcare will pay for it. There may be co-pays for some prescription drugs.

Q. What drugs are on the formulary?

A. There are many drugs on the formulary list. There is at least one drug for each type of disease. Some types of disease are asthma, diabetes or ear infections. For each type of disease, we will cover at least one drug and sometimes many more to help treat your medical needs. The list also contains both brand and generic-named drugs. Generic drugs work the same way as the brand-name drug. We may cover both types or just one. But either way, we will pay for medicine that treats your condition! To get a copy of all the drugs we cover, call Molina Member Services at (800) 223-7242, (TTY: 711). You can also find your Drug List in "What’s Covered".

Q. How does Molina Healthcare decide which drugs to put on the formulary list?

A. The drugs on this list are chosen by Molina’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee and approved by Molina Healthcare. This committee is a team made up of doctors and pharmacists. The P&T committee meets to discuss which drugs will serve you best and to go over FDA (Food and Drug Administration) reports. These reports talk about new drugs the FDA says are okay for use. They also talk about how well current drugs work. These reports help the committee. It helps them know if they should add drugs to the list or take some off. The drugs chosen for the list are those that are safe and those that will work best.

Q. What if my drug is not on the formulary list?

A. . If you find out that your drug is not on the list, call Molina Member Services at (800) 223-7242. Ask them to make sure that your drug is not on the formulary. If they say it is not on the list, don’t worry! First, ask your doctor if you can switch to another drug that we do cover. You can give your doctor a list of the drugs we pay for. He or she may find another drug on the list that treats your medical condition the same way. For a copy of the list, click here. If there is no other drug on the list that will help, don’t worry. We may still cover a drug not on the list! In this case, your doctor must fill out a prior authorization form and send it to us. Your doctor will tell us why this is the only drug that will work for you. We will review the form. If we approve it, we will pay for your drug. So you can still access the drug benefit, even if your drug is not on the list!

Q. What type of service should you expect from a network pharmacy?

A. There are certain services you should get from our network pharmacies. These services are there to help you. They help you know how to take your medicine the safe and healthy way. When you go to a network pharmacy:
  • You should expect to be asked if you want to speak with a pharmacist. This is called a patient consult.
  • During a consult you can ask the pharmacist many questions. You can ask how to take your medicine. You can also ask when you should take it. For example, you might need to take it with or without food. Ask about how to take your drug the safe way.
  • During the consult, the pharmacist may tell you:
    • What the drug is for and how it works.
    • Side effects the drug may cause.
    • How to store the drug. Some drugs must be kept at a certain temperature or in a certain light so they won’t be ruined.
    • About any other drugs you should not take. Sometimes when two drugs are taken together, it can be dangerous for you. Some drugs can stop your medicine from working. Ask your pharmacist about any drug interactions.
    • You can also ask for a medication profile review. This is when a pharmacist checks the computer for all of the drugs you are taking. He or she will tell you information about them. You will be told the best way to take each one throughout the day. The pharmacist will also make sure it is safe for you to take the drugs together during the day. If you take any vitamins or herbal remedies, now is the time to tell your pharmacist. He or she will let you know if it is okay to take them with your other drugs.
  • During flu season, some of the network pharmacies may offer flu shots for you as a Molina Healthcare member. The flu shots are free of charge. Ask if your pharmacy offers flu shots for Molina Healthcare members.
  • You should expect these services from your pharmacy. Be sure to take advantage of what your pharmacy offers. We only choose network pharmacies that serve you best. We work with our network pharmacies to keep you safe and healthy! Need help finding a pharmacy?

Q. What is Prior Authorization?

A. At Molina Healthcare, we care about our members. That is why we have a prior authorization process for certain drugs. It means that Molina Healthcare may have to approve a drug your doctor wants you to take. We have to say it is okay to use before you can take it. We only do this with some drugs. We may ask for it if:
  • The drug on our formulary or drug list, says “Prior Auth” (Prior Authorization) is needed
  • The drug is not on our list
  • The drug is being used for a health condition that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not approve
  • The prescription is being refilled too soon after it was first filled
  • For example, if your drug is lost, stolen or spilled, you might need prior auth to get a refill. Or, you might need it if you go on a vacation and need extra medicine for a long trip. You might also need prior auth if your doctor wants you to take a higher dose of the drug you are on
If your doctor wants you to take a drug that needs prior auth, he or she will need to send a prior authorization form to Molina. The form will say why your doctor wants you to take that drug. We will go over the form. In most cases, we will tell your doctor within 72 hours if it is okay to prescribe it for you. If we say it is okay to take the drug, we will tell your doctor. If we do not say it is okay, we will tell your doctor and send a letter. We will send one to you and your doctor. We will tell you and your doctor why it is not approved for use. You can also call your doctor’s office to find out if your drug has been approved or not. We will give your doctor’s office all the information about your prescription. We will also send you a letter that tells you how to appeal our decision. This means you can still ask us to pay for your drug, even if it is not approved.

Q. Why do we have a Prior Authorization process?

A. The reason we have this process is to keep you and your family safe. We ask for prior authorization because:
  • We want to make sure a drug is safe for you to take
  • We want to make sure you take the right amount of the drug
  • We make sure the drug you are given is the right drug to treat your condition
  • We also want make sure it was prescribed to you by the right person
  • We want to make sure that the drug will not mix in a dangerous way with any other drugs you take
We also have this process because we are expected to make the best use of the money we are given to pay for your care. Sometimes your doctor may prescribe you a very expensive drug. There may be a less expensive drug you can use that works the same exact way. And sometimes it may work better or be safer to use. This is also why we have prior authorization. We look at many things when we approve a drug for you to take. We want to make sure the drugs you take will help you and not hurt you. Our prior authorization process works to help keep you and your family safe and healthy!

Q. What is a utilization control?

A. We want to keep you safe when you take your medicine. That is why we have utilization controls. These are rules in the pharmacy computers we have for taking certain drugs. The rules are about whether or not you can take a certain drug and how much of it you can take. We have these rules to make sure the drug you take will help you and not hurt you. The rules are in place to keep you safe!

Types of utilization controls

Prior Authorization:

There are some drugs your doctor may want you to take that need prior authorization. This means we have to say it is okay to take the drug. We do this to keep you safe. We want to make sure the drug you take is the right drug to treat your condition. We also want to make sure the drug was prescribed to you by the right person. We want to make sure you take a drug that will help you.

Dose/Age Check:

This check is to make sure that you take the right amount of a drug for your age, weight and height. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has directions for how much of a drug a person of a certain age, weight and height can take. We have dose/age checks to make sure the drug you are prescribed follows these directions. We don’t want you to take too much or too little of a drug. We want to make sure you are given the right amount of a drug to take.

Drug Interaction Screens:

Some people see more than one doctor. This means you might take more than one drug. But sometimes, when two or more different drugs are taken at the same time, the wrong combination can be very dangerous to your health. That is why the pharmacy computers do drug interaction screens. These screens check to make sure the drug you are prescribed will not interact with another drug you take. If the pharmacy notices a problem, they will tell you and your doctor. We want to keep you safe. That is why we have these rules. We will not let you take the drug if there is a danger. We also have drug utilization reviews to enforce these rules. Our pharmacy network reviews your profile each time you fill a prescription. In a review, we look at the drug you are prescribed. We also look at your records. We make sure there is no problem with the drugs you take. We do this for all our members. It is to make sure you get safe care and to help keep you healthy!