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San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

CMA Working to fix Security Prescription Legislation

On January 1, 2019, a new California law took effect that requires all security prescription forms to have a uniquely serialized number. The legislation did not include any transition or grandfathering period to allow for continued use of old controlled substance security prescription forms on or after January 1.

Unfortunately, with less than two weeks to go before the new year, the pads were not ready to be printed, leaving many physicians without the required pads to write necessary prescriptions for their patients. CMA is currently working on a legislative fix to address this issue immediately to ensure no patient goes without the essential medicine and care they need.  

The California Board of Pharmacy recently said it would “not make enforcement a priority” if pharmacists choose to fill prescriptions written on security prescription forms that were compliant prior to January 1, but are not compliant with the new serialization requirement. The pharmacy board has urged pharmacists and pharmacies to exercise their best professional judgment when handling these situations, to determine if it is in the best interest of the patient or public health or safety to nonetheless fill such prescriptions. Similarly, the Medical Board of California has also recently issued a memorandum emphasizing the pharmacy board's decision not to aggressively enforce the new requirement. Prescribers should, however, expect to receive calls from pharmacies seeking to validate prescriptions written on non-compliant forms.

CMA understands that reordering security prescription forms presents a great expense for many physician practices and is working to ensure that physician is able to comply with this new requirement in a way that does not adversely affect patient care.

For more information, including answers to frequently asked questions about the implementation of this new law, see the joint statement from the medical board, the pharmacy board and the Department of Justice.

CMA will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Contact: CMA legal information line, (800) 786-4262 or via email.

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