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VA Formulary


The VA Formulary refers to a specific list of medications that are approved for use and coverage within the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) healthcare system. This list is managed and regularly updated by the VA Pharmacy Benefits Management Services, ensuring the inclusion of safe, effective, and clinically necessary medications for veterans. Veterans receiving healthcare benefits from the VA can access these approved medications, which are often available at reduced costs or for free.

Key Takeaways

  1. The VA Formulary is a list of approved medications that are covered by the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, ensuring veterans are provided with safe, effective, and affordable medications.
  2. It is regularly updated and maintained by the VA’s Pharmacy Benefits Management Services, incorporating new medications, clinical research, and considering changes in healthcare practices for the veterans’ specific needs.
  3. Veterans receiving healthcare from the VA are encouraged to use medications listed on the VA Formulary for better cost coverage and coordinated care, minimizing out-of-pocket expenses and ensuring evidence-based treatment.


The VA benefits term “VA Formulary” is important because it directly impacts the accessibility and availability of medications for veterans receiving healthcare benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The VA Formulary serves as a comprehensive list of prescription medications, both generic and brand-name, that have been carefully evaluated and approved by the VA for their safety, effectiveness, and cost efficiency.

This ensures that veterans receive high-quality, necessary medications while minimizing potential out-of-pocket expenses.

Keeping abreast of the VA Formulary ensures veterans and healthcare providers are informed about the approved medications, enabling them to make well-informed decisions regarding healthcare, treatment plans, and prescription drug coverage within the VA healthcare system.


The VA Formulary serves as a vital tool designed to assist healthcare professionals in providing optimal care to veterans by offering access to a comprehensive list of medications. The primary purpose of this formulary is to act as a reference guide for both Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians and pharmacists, streamlining the decision-making process for medication management and ensuring the consistent, efficient, and cost-effective use of pharmaceuticals for treating various health conditions.

By having a standardized list of drugs, the VA promotes a safe and effective means of addressing the specific and unique healthcare needs of the veteran population, while remaining conscious of financial constraints and resources. Not only does the VA Formulary enhance the quality of care provided to veterans, but it also fosters a collaborative and coordinated approach to their healthcare.

This process involves engaging in ongoing discussions and negotiations with pharmaceutical companies, which allows the VA to secure medications at competitive prices. Furthermore, as new medications become available in the market, the VA continually updates the formulary to reflect these advancements in treatment options.

In essence, the VA Formulary ensures that veterans receive necessary, up-to-date medications at a lower cost, ultimately contributing to a higher quality of life for those who have selflessly served their nation.

Examples of VA Formulary

The VA Formulary is a list of medications that are approved for veterans under the VA healthcare system. It includes medications for various conditions and illnesses that veterans might deal with, ensuring that they receive proper and cost-effective treatments. Here are three real-world examples of situations in which the VA Formulary plays a vital role:

Mental Health Treatment: A veteran diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may need prescription medications to help manage their symptoms. The VA Formulary covers various medications for this condition, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like sertraline or paroxetine, or other antidepressants like venlafaxine. This allows the veteran to access the necessary treatment without incurring significant out-of-pocket costs.

Chronic Pain Management: Veterans with chronic pain due to injuries, surgery, or other conditions may need long-term medication to manage their symptoms. The VA Formulary includes various pain management medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, and certain opioids. A rule was implemented in 2017 to minimize the use of prescription opioids, and the formulary now encourages the use of non-opioid pain management options wherever possible.

Diabetes Management: Diabetes is a common condition among veterans, and managing the illness often requires daily medications. The VA Formulary ensures that veterans have access to different types of medications to manage their diabetes, such as Metformin, insulin, and other oral or injectable medications. The formulary is updated regularly to ensure that the newest and most effective treatments are available to veterans.

FAQ Section: VA Formulary

1. What is the VA Formulary?

The VA Formulary is a list of medications that are approved for use by veterans under the care of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system. The formulary is used to help healthcare providers select the most appropriate and cost-effective medications to meet the needs of the veterans they serve.

2. How can I access the VA Formulary?

You can access the VA Formulary online through the VA National Formulary website, available at https://www.pbm.va.gov/apps/VANationalFormulary/. This tool allows you to search for medications by name or by therapeutic class and provides information on approved medications, restrictions, and clinical guidance for use.

3. Are all medications on the VA Formulary covered?

Most medications on the VA Formulary are covered for eligible veterans under the VA healthcare system. However, coverage is subject to eligibility requirements, such as being enrolled in VA healthcare and obtaining a prescription from a VA healthcare provider. Some medications may also have specific restrictions or require authorization from a healthcare provider.

4. What if a medication is not on the VA Formulary?

If a medication is not on the VA Formulary, your healthcare provider can submit a non-formulary drug request for review. If the request is approved, the non-formulary medication may be covered by the VA healthcare system. Keep in mind that non-formulary medications are only approved in special circumstances and after formulary alternatives have been considered.

5. How often is the VA Formulary updated?

The VA Formulary is continuously reviewed and updated to incorporate the latest in clinical evidence, drug safety information, and cost-effectiveness. This ensures that veterans receive the best possible care with the most appropriate and current treatment options available.

6. Who can I contact if I have questions about the VA Formulary?

If you have any questions about the VA Formulary, you can contact your VA healthcare provider or the VA Pharmacy Benefits Management Services (PBM) at 1-800-633-2322. They can provide additional information and answer any questions you may have about the medications covered by the VA healthcare system.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Prescription Copayments
  • Non-Formulary Medications

  • Medication Prior Authorization
  • VA Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM)
  • Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications

Sources for More Information