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Change in Preferred Drug List Status for the Smoking Cessation Drug Class Effective May 16, 2023

Last updated on 5/19/2023

Effective May 16, 2023, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) removed the non-preferred status from the generic product varenicline on the preferred drug list (PDL).

This removal occurred because of a drug shortage of the brand-name product Chantix in the smoking cessation drug class. The shortage is due to a manufacturing delay by the manufacturer, Pfizer.

To allow for any remaining stock to be used, the preferred status of Chantix products (NDC 00069-0468-56, 00069-0471-03, and 00069-0469-56) will not change.

As a result of the change, HHSC has removed the non-preferred status of the following generic drugs effective May 16, 2023:

National Drug Code

Generic Drug Name


Varenicline 0.5 mg tablet


Varenicline 1 mg tablet


Varenicline starting month box

These changes will be reflected in the daily formulary file for managed care organizations (MCOs). The changes will allow providers to prescribe varenicline without a PDL prior authorization, and they will be able to continue providing the necessary medication to clients.

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