Drug Switching Notices

The American Academy of Family Physicians supports patient-centered formularies. As a means to maintain such formularies and to reduce costs of prescription benefit programs, insurers and pharmacies sometimes request that a patient be switched from their current medication to a generic or therapeutically equivalent drug. Such “drug switching notices” (verbal and/or written) to using patient-specific data may be appropriate when such communications:

  • are patient-centric, e.g., address patient safety and patient compliance, suggest appropriate generic or therapeutic alternative, etc.
  • are drawn from evidence-based disease management guidelines;
  • are HIPAA-compliant;
  • are directed to specific individuals only;
  • clearly indicate what organization is funding such a communication;
  • are transparent regarding the financial impact to the patient and the pharmacy plan and/or health plan;
  • emphasize patients should consult their personal physician about any potential change(s) in their prescribed medication(s) which may be done best in a face-to-face visit; and
  • adhere to respective AAFP policies on drugs.

(2003) (April 2014 BOD)