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Priority Partners Pharmacy & Formulary

Johns Hopkins Priority Partners administers pharmacy benefits for Maryland Medicaid HealthChoice Recipients.

Quick Links:
Priority Partners Pharmacy Formulary
Prior Authorization, Quantity Limits, and Step Therapy
Retail Pharmacy Network
Drug Safety Information
Pharmacy Compounded Drugs
Specialty Medications
Medical Injectable Drugs

Priority Partners Pharmacy Formulary

  • The Priority Partners formulary is a guide for health care providers and plan members to show which medications are covered by the plan, as well as any requirements such as Prior Authorization (PA), Step Therapy (ST), and Managed Drug Limitation (MDL). The Priority Partners formulary is a closed formulary, meaning only the drugs listed are covered. There may be occasions when an unlisted drug is desired for medical management of a patient. In those instances, the unlisted medication may be requested through the Non-Formulary authorization request process, described in the Priority Partners Pharmacy Formulary.
  • 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. The PPMCO formulary is subject to change at any time. Review the PPMCO formulary changes.
  • Please note: The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is responsible for formulary management of drugs used for substance use disorder (SUD), AIDS/HIV, and most drugs used for behavioral health. Please refer to the Maryland Medicaid Mental Health Formulary and the Maryland DHMH Clinical Criteria for Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Medications for more specific information. This list may also be viewed at
  • Printed copies of the Priority Partners pharmaceutical management procedures and formulary are available to providers, upon request. Please call (888) 819-1043, option 4 to request this information.

Prior Authorization, Quantity Limits, & Step Therapy

Prior Authorization

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.

For medications requiring prior authorization, please refer to the Prior Authorization List in the Pharmacy Formulary. This list is subject to change without notice. You may use this Prior Authorization form.

In compliance with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DHMH) Opioid Prescribing policy, effective July 1, 2017, Priority Partners will require prior authorization for all long-acting opioids, methadone for pain, and any opioid prescription that results in a patient exceeding 90 morphine milliequivalents (MME) per day. A standard 30-day quantity limit for all opioids will be set at or below 90 MME per day. Please complete the specific Opioid Prior Authorization form in its entirety and submit it to the health plan. For all other medications, please use the standard 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) 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 Pharmacy Prior Authorization Form request for a higher quantity.

Step Therapy

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) in the Pharmacy Formulary

Please note that in the event the Priority Partners precertification unit is closed, or a pharmacist cannot contact the prescribing physician, the pharmacist may dispense up to a 96-hour supply of the requested medication to an eligible Priority Partners member.

  • Please note that in the event the Priority Partners precertification unit is closed, or a pharmacist cannot contact the prescribing physician, the pharmacist may dispense up to a 96-hour supply of the requested medication to an eligible Priority Partners member.

Retail Pharmacy Network

The pharmacy network includes most chain retailers and independent pharmacies within the State of Maryland. Members may search for a participating network pharmacy. Registration is required for first time use. 

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.

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 Formand 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.  The PPMCO Pharmacy Formulary lists most of the specialty medications which may or may not require prior authorization. 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. 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.