2.6. Pharmacy Services
The VA Pharmacy dispenses medically necessary medications as prescribed by VA physicians and authorized medical personnel. The VA uses a formulary, or a list of medications and medical supplies, that it keeps in stock at all times. According to VA, the formulary medications are preferred because they are:
- High Quality
- A good value
Because the VA is one of the Nation's largest buyers of medications and medical supplies, it receives tremendous discounts when it purchases large quantities of the same medications from the same manufacturers. This is not to say that a Veteran cannot get a non-formulary medication or supply item, it simply means that the VA will require the Veteran's physician to go through a process for "non-formulary items". In essence, the VA clinician will have to explain why the non-formulary item is medically necessary and why the formulary item isn't as medically safe or effective.
Will the VA fill prescriptions from non-VA physicians or providers?
In general, the answer is no. The VA Pharmacy is not authorized to fill prescriptions unless they written by a VA provider. The exception is that the VA will fill non-VA prescriptions for Veterans who are in receipt of Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. Veterans in receipt of Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits should contact their local VA's Pharmacy service for more information.
VetsFirst Advocacy Tip: If you are an eligible Veteran and are enrolled in VA health care but you also see non-VA physicians, you should keep your VA primary care physician and any VA specialists up to date on any and all medications prescribed by your non-va providers. There are a couple of important reasons for doing so:
- Your VA and non-VA providers should be made aware of all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal supplements so they can knowingly assess your medical condition and treatment plan.
- If your non-VA physician has prescribed a medication that is on the VA national formulary, then the VA physician may re-write the prescription using the VA Pharmacy's formulary. If your non-VA physician has prescribed an item that is not on the VA's national formulary (a "non-formulary" item), then your VA physician may:
- Substitute a suitable VA formulary item.
- Coordinate with the non-VA provider to obtain medical records and follow the procedure to re-write and supply a "non-formulary" item.