Reports: CVS Caremark drops 17 drugs from formulary

Move meant to encourage use of cheaper, generic alternatives

NEW YORK — The PBM division of CVS Caremark is hoping to get patients to use lower-cost drugs for certain conditions by removing higher-cost drugs from its formulary, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that CVS Caremark would stop covering 17 drugs starting on Jan. 1, 2013, after removing 30 this year. The drugs include Abbott's Androgel (testosterone gel) for low testosterone, and Pfizer's drug Detrol LA (tolterodine tartrate) for overactive bladder.

The company said that the drugs removed from the formulary have alternatives that cost less, including generics, and some of those removed were nonpreferred drugs with lower degrees of utilization, according to the WSJ, adding that the removals are considered voluntary, but clients using the PBM's services risk getting a smaller share of rebates if they don't follow the policy.

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