Preferred drug lists
How can I learn more about a specific drug?
Our drug information tool is a great place to start! Just type in a drug name to find out what the drug is used for, how it should be taken and what your doctor should know about you before prescribing the drug.
You can also use our drug interactions tool to learn if your medicines may interact with other medicines or vitamins you currently take, foods that you eat, medical conditions you may have, and more.
Disclaimer: Aetna assumes no responsibility for any circumstances arising out of the use, misuse, interpretation or application of any information or other material provided on the Gold Standard site.
If unable to find the information about potential drug to drug interactions, a drug’s common side effects, or availability of generic substitutes using the online tools, call 1-800-670-3566 to speak with a pharmacist. Leave your Aetna member identification number, date of birth, phone number including area code and the name of the drug or drugs in question. A pharmacist will return your call within 24 hours.
Are my drugs safe? How can I prevent a medication error?
What is the Preferred Drug List?
The Aetna Preferred Drug List is a list of preferred drugs that may be covered under Aetna prescription drug plans as long as the drug is medically necessary and plan rules are followed.
The Aetna Preferred Drug List includes FDA-approved drugs that are considered safe and cost-effective. It includes both brand-name and generic medications. We choose drugs for the Preferred Drug List based on reliable medical data, safety and cost. Many medications on the Preferred Drug List are subject to manufacturer rebate arrangements* between Aetna and the manufacturer of those medications.
My drug was on the Preferred Drug List last year, but now it's not. Why?
We have a committee that meets regularly to review new drugs and information about drugs that are on the market. Drugs can be added to or removed from the Preferred Drug List at any time:
We might also move a drug from one coverage tier to another.
How can I see what drugs are on the Preferred Drug List?
Log in to Aetna Navigator. Then, select Pharmacy Benefits Summary and Medication Search. Or, call Aetna Member Services at the toll-free number on your member ID card.
How can I get a drug added to the Preferred Drug List?
Aetna Pharmacy Management regularly reviews drugs to determine what should be on the Preferred Drug List. Your physician may write to us to request that a drug be added to the list. Your physician should provide copies of peer reviewed medical literature to validate the superiority of the medication requested to be added to the Preferred Drug List. A committee will review and consider the request.
How can I view the Preventive Medications list?
Here is the 2013 Preventive Medications List (PDF, 281 KB).
What are Preventive Medications? How does Aetna choose which drugs are considered Preventive Medications?
Preventive medications are generally prescribed for people who may be at risk for certain diseases or conditions but who are not yet showing signs. Preventive care does not include drugs or medicines for treatment of an existing illness or condition. Preventive medications are used to prevent:
We selected drug classes that are largely used for preventive purposes and are associated with several highly common conditions. People with these conditions can be symptom-free if the condition is managed well; failure to manage these conditions can result in serious illness or injury.
The Preventive list reflects guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury indicating that certain drugs could be covered as preventive for selected conditions under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). The drugs were selected based on Federal guidance and according to clinical and pharmacoeconomic criteria, including: relative high-prevalence of the diseases underlying the use of the drugs, clinical indication, as well as therapy class effectiveness towards preventing an illness or a reoccurrence of an illness.
How can I view the Chronic Medications List?
Here is the 2013 Chronic Medications List (PDF, 304 KB).
What are Chronic Medications? How does Aetna choose which drugs are considered Chronic Medications?
Chronic medications are used to treat an ongoing condition (that has been diagnosed) regardless of the risk for complications and for which an individual may be currently experiencing symptoms.
Chronic medications are drugs used in the treatment of chronic conditions, such as:
We selected several drug classes that are used to treat highly common chronic conditions. People with these conditions can be symptom-free if the condition is managed well; failure to manage them can result in serious illness or injury.
How can the Chronic and Preventive Medications lists apply to me?
Some plans waive the deductible for drugs on the Chronic and Preventive Medications Lists. If you have a deductible, check for these programs on your secure Aetna Navigator website. Look under Benefits/Summary to see if these deductible waiver programs apply to you.
View the 2013 Chronic and Preventive Medications List (PDF, 304 KB).
Brand and Generic Drugs
What are generic drugs?
Generic drugs are identical, or "bioequivalent" to brand-name drugs - in dosage, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use. Although generic drugs are chemically the same as their branded counterparts, they are typically sold at substantial discounts from the branded price.
What is the difference between generic and brand-name drugs and how does my plan treat them differently?
Generic drugs are approved by the FDA to be as safe and effective as their brand-name counterparts. They have the same active ingredients in the same dose. The difference is that they may be another shape, size or color.
Brand-name drugs are also often more expensive. In fact, the use of generics is a valuable way to reduce overall prescription drug costs without sacrificing quality.
Generic drugs make economic sense for Aetna members because under most of our plans they have a lower copayment. Depending on your plan design, you get a therapeutically equivalent drug for less money.
Why are brand-name drugs more expensive?
Brand-name drugs are generally more expensive than generics because drug makers invest money to support the research, development and marketing of each new medication. They look to recover some of these costs with higher pricing. Because there are no pricing controls, manufacturers can set their own prices on patent-protected drugs.
When a patent expires on a brand-name drug, generic manufacturers can produce a generic version. Because generic drug makers are not introducing a new drug, they avoid the expenses of developing it. This is reflected in the lower price.
How do I know that a brand-name drug and generic drug are the same?
There are many myths and misconceptions about generic drugs. Some people believe quality is tied to cost, and that a cheaper drug has a lower quality. It simply is not true.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves brand-name drugs. It approves generic drugs, too. To be approved, a generic drug must:
If brand-name drugs and generic drugs have the same active ingredients, why do they look different?
In the United States, trademark laws don't allow generic drugs to look exactly like brand-name drugs. But they must duplicate the active ingredients.
Are generic drugs as safe as brand-name drugs?
Yes. The FDA requires that all drugs be safe and effective. Since generics use the same active ingredients and are shown to work the same way in the body, they have the same benefits and risks as their brand-name counterparts.
Are generic drugs as strong as brand-name drugs?
Yes. The FDA requires generic drugs to have the same strength, quality, purity and stability as brand-name drugs.
Does every brand-name drug have a generic equivalent?
No. Only about half of the brand-name drugs on the market today have a generic alternative. Some drugs are protected by patents and are supplied by only one company.
Are generic drugs right for me?
Generic drugs can help you get more for your health care dollars. These drugs are generally less expensive than brand-name drugs, but they do the same job. Talk to your doctor. Ask if a generic drug is available and appropriate to meet your needs.
What do I have to do at the pharmacy to get the generic version of a drug?
Most pharmacies can substitute a generic drug for a brand-name drug. In fact, many will make the switch automatically, unless your state law says they can’t.
However, your doctor may have written “DAW” on your prescription. This stands for “dispense as written.” It means that the pharmacy can’t give you a generic drug instead of a brand-name one without calling your doctor. Your doctor may do this if he or she believes that the generic drug is not right for you.