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Pharmacy Changes Effective January 1, 2014

December 6, 2013

TO: Pharmacies, Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Oral Surgeons, Optometrists, Dentists, FQHCs, RHCs, Mental Health Service Providers, Hospitals and Nursing Homes

Effective January 1, 2014, the Alabama Medicaid Agency will:

1.    Limit the number of outpatient pharmacy prescriptions to five total drugs (including up to four brands) per month for adults. Children under 21 and nursing home recipients are excluded. Allowances will be made for up to five additional (10 total) prescriptions for brand and generic antipsychotics, antiretrovirals, and anti-epileptic drugs. In no case can total prescriptions exceed 10 per month/per recipient.

2.    Implement a mandatory three-month maintenance supply program for selected medication classes. A maintenance supply prescription will only be counted towards the prescription limit in the month in which it is filled, and will be required after 60 days stable therapy. The selected classes include:

Medication Class

Medications Included

ACE Inhibitors

Preferred generics and brands


Preferred generics and brands

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

Preferred generics and brands


Generic montelukast

Beta Blockers

Preferred generics and brands

Calcium Channel Blockers

Preferred generics and brands

Cardiotonic Agents

Generic digoxin


Oral, vaginal rings, patches only

Diabetic Agents/Supplies

Generic metformin, generic sulfonylureas, OTC insulins, and syringes

Direct Vasodilators

Generic hydralazine


Preferred generics and brands (now includes spironolactone containing products)


Generic estradiol tablets


All covered products

Men's Health

Generic tamsulosin

Potassium Chloride

Generic potassium chloride


Preferred generics and brands

Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors

Generic clopidogrel

Thyroid Replacement

All covered products

3.    Reimburse for agents used to promote smoking cessation in accordance with mandatory coverage required under the Affordable Care Act. These agents will require prior authorization and the recipient must enroll in the Alabama Department of Public Health Quitline. More information can be found at www.medicaid.alabama.gov under the Pharmacy/DME page.

4.    Cover benzodiazepines and barbiturates (under the PDL) for eligible recipients in accordance with mandatory coverage required under the Affordable Care Act.

5.    Require prior authorization for payment of generic budesonide (Pulmicort). Brand Pulmicort Respules will be preferred with no PA.

·         Use Dispense as Written (DAW) Code of 9 for brand Pulmicort Respules. DAW Code of 9 indicates the following: Substitution Allowed by Prescriber but Plan Requests Brand - Patient's Plan Requested Brand Product to be Dispensed.

6.    Update the Preferred Drug List (PDL) to reflect the recent Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee’s recommendations as well as quarterly updates. The updates are listed below: 

PDL Additions


Respiratory/Orally Inhaled Corticosteroids

PDL Deletions

Budesonide (generic Pulmicort)

Respiratory/Orally Inhaled Corticosteroids


For additional PDL and coverage information, visit our drug look-up site at https://www.medicaid.alabamaservices.org/ALPortal/NDC%20Look%20Up/tabId/39/Default.aspx

The PA request form and criteria booklet, as well as a link for a PA request form that can be completed and submitted electronically online, can be found on the Agency’s website at www.medicaid.alabama.gov and should be utilized by the prescribing physician or the dispensing pharmacy when requesting a PA. Providers requesting PAs by mail or fax should send requests to:


Health Information Designs (HID)

Medicaid Pharmacy Administrative Services

P. O. Box 3210 Auburn, AL 36832-3210

Fax: 1-800-748-0116

Phone: 1-800-748-0130


Incomplete PA requests or those failing to meet Medicaid criteria will be denied. If the prescribing physician believes medical justification should be considered, the physician must document this on the form or submit a written letter of medical justification along with the prior authorization form to HID. Additional information may be requested. Staff physicians will review this information.

Policy questions concerning this provider notice should be directed to the Pharmacy Program at (334) 242-5050. Questions regarding prior authorization procedures should be directed to the HID help desk  at 1-800-748-0130.