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Pharmacy & Formulary


Prescription drug benefits vary among EHP employer groups. 

Pharmacy benefits for the following employer groups are managed by Johns Hopkins Employer Health Programs (EHP) and CVS Caremark:

  • Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
  • Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC
  • Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation
  • Johns Hopkins Home Care Group
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital

View the 2017 formulary & pharmacy-related benefit information for these employers.

Pharmacy benefits for the following employer groups are managed by Johns Hopkins EHP:

  • Broadway Services Inc.
  • Howard County General Hospital/TCAS
  • Johns Hopkins University Student Health Program
  • Sibley Memorial Hospital

View the 2017 formulary & pharmacy-related benefit information for these employers.

Pharmacy benefits for the following employer groups are managed by different entities:

  • Anne Arundel Medical Center: managed by EnvisionRx
  • Suburban Hospital and Johns Hopkins University: managed by Medco/Express Scripts


2016 Pharmacy Information

Pharmacy Formulary

The EHP Pharmacy Formulary (effective 10/1/2016) is a guide for health care providers, plan members, and clients. The formulary is updated on a quarterly basis, as needed, including when a new generic or brand-name medication becomes available and as discontinued drugs are removed from the marketplace. Review the EHP formulary changes.

Printed copies of EHP's pharmaceutical management procedures is available to providers upon request. Please call (888) 819-1043, option 4 to request this information.

Copay Tier

Some EHP Members covered by the EHP pharmacy benefit have a three-tier drug benefit, while others have a four-tier drug benefit.  Each tier has a different co-pay or out-of-pocket expense.

The EHP pharmacy formulary consists of the following tiers:

  1. Tier One: Generic drugs have the lowest out-of-pocket cost for members and are placed on Tier 1. Generic drugs are listed in bold in the formulary.
  2. Tier Two: Preferred brand-name drugs that have a significant safety or efficacy advantage compared to similar agents. These agents have an intermediate out-of-pocket cost for members.
  3. Tier Three: Non-preferred brand-name drugs that do not have a significant, clinically meaningful advantage in terms of effectiveness, safety, and clinical outcomes compared to similar agents. These drugs have higher out-of-pocket cost for members. In most cases, there will be Tier 1 or Tier 2 alternatives for products found in this tier. Brand-name drugs covered under the pharmacy benefit that are not displayed in the formulary or unless otherwise designated by benefit design will process in Tier 3.
  4. Tier Four: Tier 4 (highest copay) is not applicable to all EHP employer groups. This tier includes brand drugs for which a generic equivalent is available and select non-preferred brand drugs.

Retail Pharmacy Network:

The retail pharmacy network includes over 64,000 pharmacies nationwide. The network includes most chain retailers and independent pharmacies. Search for a participating network pharmacy near you . Registration is required for first time use.

Generic Substitution

EHP encourages use and prescribing of generic medications. Brand-name drugs with generic equivalents available are placed in Tier 3 of the EHP Formulary. If the prescriber or member chooses a brand name drug with a generic equivalent, the member will be required to pay a higher cost share. Cost share for members covered under the EHP pharmacy benefit vary by employer plan design. Cost share for brand-name drugs with a generic equivalent available is determined by the employer's Summary Plan Description (SPD). Depending on the employer-specific benefit, the member may be required to pay the highest co-pay Tier 3 or pay the highest copay plus the difference in price between the brand and its generic equivalent. To view information on a drug, including how to take the medication, the possible side effects and drug interactions, click here and select Drug Search.

To view information abotu Generic drugs, click here and select "About Generics." 

Drug Safety Information: 

To view information on a drug, including how to take the medication, the possible side effects and drug interactions, click here and select “Drug Reference & Interactions” or select “Medication Safety Alerts” to see the latest drug safety alerts.

Prior-Authorization, Quantity Limits, & Step Therapy


Certain medications require prior authorization before coverage is approved, to assure medical necessity, clinical appropriateness and/or cost effectiveness. Coverage of these drugs are subject to specific criteria approved by physicians and pharmacists on the Johns Hopkins HealthCare Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. Established criteria are based on medical literature, physician expert opinion, and FDA approved labeling information.

Please refer to the Prior Authorization list in the Pharmacy Formulary. This list is subject to change without notice and is not applicable to all EHP groups. Consult the member's SPD to determine if their plan is subject to this list. Prior Authorization Form

Quantity Limits:

Certain prescription medications have specific dispensing limitations for quantity and maximum dose. These dispensing limitations are based on generally accepted guidelines, drug label information approved by the Food and Drug Administration FDA, current medical literature and input from a committee of physicians and pharmacists. The three types of quantity limits include the following:

  • Coverage limited to one dose per day for drugs that are approved for once daily dosing
  • Coverage limited to specific number of units over a defined time frame
  • Coverage limited to approve maximum daily dosage

Please refer to the Managed Drug Limitations (MDL) list in the Pharmacy Formulary.

When medically necessary, an exception to quantity limits can be requested. If your patient's medical condition warrants use of quantities greater than listed quantities for each drug, you may submit a Prior Authorization Form request for a higher quantity.

Prescription drug benefits vary among EHP employer groups; therefore, the information included on this page is for informational purposes only. Certain programs referenced in this information, and in some cases, the pharmacy benefit itself, are not applicable to all EHP employer groups.

Step Therapy:

For some plan members who receive the pharmacy benefit, certain covered medications are required to satisfy specific step therapy criteria. Step therapy criteria simply means that for certain drug products, members must first have tried one or more prerequisite medications to treat their condition before other medications are covered through their benefit.

Please refer to the Step Therapy (ST) list in the Pharmacy Formulary.

Pharmacy Compounded Drugs:

To ensure safety and effectiveness of compound drug claims and to manage cost, some compound medications when rejected at the pharmacy may require prior authorization.  The provider may complete the Compound Prior Authorization Form and fax to the Johns Hopkins Healthcare Pharmacy department at 410-424-4607 for review. The provider must provide clinical documentation to support the request and demonstrate that an FDA approved commercially-available product is not clinically appropriate for the member.

Specialty Medications 

Specialty medications are usually high-cost prescription medications used to treat complex chronic conditions. These drugs typically require special storage and handling, and may not be readily available at a local pharmacy. Specialty medications may also have side effects that require pharmacist and/or provider monitoring.  Some specialty medications may require prior authorization; refer to the pharmacy formulary for specific requirements. Upon authorization approval of a request for a specialty medication, the Pharmacy Review Department will forward the request to a contracted specialty pharmacy and notify the provider. The specialty pharmacy will coordinate delivery of the medication to the patient's home or physician office.

Medical Injectable Drugs

Certain medical injectable medications require prior authorization. To expedite treatment and claims processing for indications included in FDA labeling or national guidelines, select diagnoses will be exempt from the prior authorization requirement. Please refer to the specific medical policies to view prior authorization criteria.

To request prior authorization for medical injectable drugs, use the medical injectable PA form.