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Changes in Prescription Forms needed in 2019 - UPDATED 01/28/2019

Wednesday, January 2, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Steven Niethamer
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From: California State Board of Pharmacy <pharmacy.subscriberlist@DCA.CA.GOV>
Date: January 25, 2019 at 17:53:45 PST
Subject: Controlled Substances Security Forms Update
Reply-To: noreply@DCA.CA.GOV
Effective January 1, 2019, a new California law – AB 1753 (Low) – requires prescription forms for controlled substances to be printed with uniquely serialized numbers. Unfortunately, not all prescribers have been able to obtain access to the new security prescription forms required by the new law. But because the law does not include a grandfathering or transition period, some pharmacists have been caught in a difficult position having to decide between providing needed medication to patients versus compliance with the law.

Yesterday, the Legislature amended AB 149 to include provisions allowing for a staggered implementation of the new serialized number requirement. Under AB 149, serialized numbers on security forms for controlled substances would take effect no later than January 1, 2020. In addition, the measure would authorize dispensers to fill prescriptions written on otherwise valid forms that do not meet the new serialized number requirement until January 1, 2021.

The board encourages pharmacists to read the text of AB 149, which is available at the following link:

The board recognizes and appreciates all of the efforts by pharmacists to take care of their patients during this transition period.


Read the 1/17/2019 update message from CDA

Latest Joint Statement from DOJ, State Board of Pharmacy and the Medical Board of CA regarding Secure Prescription Forms

Assembly Bill 1753 (Low, Chapter 479) was signed into law in 2018 and becomes effective on January 1, 2019. This bill requires controlled substance security prescription forms to include a unique serialized number in a format approved by the Department of Justice (DOJ). This bill did not include any transition period to allow for continued use of old controlled substance security prescription forms on or after January 1, 2019.

Pharmacists and pharmacies will be looking for the unique serialization numbers on
controlled substance security prescription forms on and after January 1, 2019. The Board encourages physician prescribers to utilize the new forms that include the serialization number. However, if you are unable to obtain the new prescription for
ms by January 1, 2019, please be aware that the Enforcement Committee of the Board of Pharmacy has recommended that the Board of Pharmacy not make any investigation or action a priority that is against a pharmacist who, in the exercise of his or her professional judgment, determines that it is in the best interest of patient or public health or safety to nonetheless fill such prescription.

The Board of Pharmacy is urging pharmacists and pharmacies to exercise their best
judgment in handling these situations, and sent a notice reminding pharmacists and
pharmacies of the following possible responses:

  • Communicating with the prescriber about the need for a compliant security prescription;
  • Advising the prescriber to substitute an electronic prescription;
  • Consulting with the prescriber about whether the patient might be terminally ill and
    eligible for a "11159.2 exemption" prescription under Health and Safety Code section
  • Treating prescription orders written on the outdated forms for Schedule III, IV and V
    medications as oral prescriptions, and verifying the order telephonically with the
    prescriber’s office, pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 11164, subdivision (b);
  • Schedule II prescriptions on non-compliant security prescription forms present unique challenges, because of the inability to substitute an oral prescription. It is therefore especially important that pharmacists use their best professional judgement to get needed Schedule II medications to their patients, and the same enforcement priority will be applied to these dispensing decisions until July 1, 2019.
  • If failure to dispense may result in loss of life or intense suffering, dispensing pursuant to the emergency situation requirements of Health and Safety Code section 11167, and curing with a compliant controlled substance security prescription form within seven (7) days; and
  • Refusing to fill the prescription.

Again, physician prescribers are encouraged to utilize controlled substance security
prescription forms with a unique serialized number, as pharmacies and pharmacists will be identifying prescribers who do not timely transition to the new security prescription forms to the appropriate prescribing board, so that compliance can be encouraged.
For additional information, please review the notice from the Board of Pharmacy
and the language in AB 1753

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