Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions

  • ​What is the Government Formulary List?
The Government Formulary List is a continually updated list of medicines and some borderline products approved for use within the National Health Service.​ 
  • What is the Hospital Formulary?
The Hospital Formulary contains all the medicines and borderline products available within the National Health Service for inpatient use and includes information on authorised prescribers and authorised wards or areas within the hospital or clinic.
  • ​What is the Outpatients Formulary?
This formulary lists the medicines available within the National Health Service for outpatient use. Medicines listed here can be dispensed to patients in possession of a Schedule V Card (Yellow Card) or a Schedule II Card (Pink Card) and according to the criteria defined in the Formulary.
  • How is the formulary updated and when?
The formulary maintenance process is dependent on two key components:
(a) additions and deletions of medicines, and
(b) periodic reviews.

Additions – New treatment is handled by the Health Technology Assessment Unit. The formulary is then updated when stock of the new medicine is procured and available for dispensing.

Deletions – Medicines that are no longer used or lack sufficient evidence of efficacy, safety, and quality are recommended for deletion. At times, medicines that no longer meet the criteria for being cost-effective are also evaluated and deleted when an acceptable alternative is identified. The formulary is updated when all stock of the deleted medicine has been exhausted. In the meantime, the medicine is marked as officially deleted and available until stocks last.

Periodic reviews – These involve the evaluation of a group of medicines. Requests for review of eligibility criteria, prescribing criteria, etc. can also be submitted by healthcare professionals and evaluated by the Formulary Management Unit. The formulary is then updated approximately every 3 months.

  • ​Where can I view the formulary?
Both the Outpatients Formulary and the Hospital Formulary can be viewed here.

  • ​How will I know what changes are made to the Formulary?
​The latest List of Changes can be viewed here.

  •  What is entitlement for free treatment?
The Second Schedule and the Fifth Schedule of the Social Security Act establish who can avail of free treatment listed on the Outpatients Formulary. Patients are entitled to free treatment if they either:

  1. Suffe​r from any one of the chronic conditions listed in the Fifth Schedule of the above act and are in possession of a Schedule V Card (Yellow Card) for that condition. Patients are only entitled to the treatment listed for that condition as per outpatients formulary. OR
  2. Are in possession of a Schedule II Card (Pink Card) and the treatment required is marked as Pink Card Positive.

  • What are protocols and where can I find them?
For entitlement purposes, medicine protocols outline the restricted use of certain medicinal products within the National Health Services. The protocols can be viewed here.

  • When will new medicines be available?
New medicines are added to the formulary once it is confirmed that stock is procured and available.

  • ​How will I know that new medicines are now available?
A circular is issued by the Chief Medical Officer to inform that a new medicine (or a new indication) is now available for use. This is uploaded onto our website under “Circulars and Memos”. The new treatment/new indication is added in real-time to the online formularies and List of Changes when the circular is issued.

  • How will I know whether my treatment is listed on the Government Formulary List?
A search by active ingredient can be carried out in the formularies available here.

  • What is mapping?
Mapping is the process by which all items on the Outpatients Formulary are linked to one or more chronic conditions listed in the Fifth Schedule of the Social Security Act for which free treatment may be provided.

  • What are technical specifications for procurement?
Technical specifications for procurement can be defined as a description of the required technical characteristics for a product which is included in a procurement document that a supplier must provide.

  • Why and how are technical specifications changed?
​Requests for amendment of specifications can be submitted from healthcare professionals. The Formulary Management Unit (FMU) also carries out review exercises to ensure that the specifications allow fair competition while identifying the users’ needs to provide safe and effective good quality medicines. The FMU carries out the appropriate research and consults with the relevant stakeholders as necessary.