March 12, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Drug Prescribing/Dispensing Patient Care
After intense lobbying from the California Medical Association (CMA), Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Monday that will end the confusion caused by flawed implementation of the state’s new prescription pad law.
AB 149 will delay implementation of the new law until January 1, 2021, ensuring that patients will continue to have access to the medicine they need while the state creates a system to better track prescriptions across the state. Physicians will be required to order a new set of prescription pads by that date, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will determine the specs of those new pads some time next year.
In the meantime, physicians will be able to use pads obtained before or after January 1, 2018. Both sets of pads will be accepted until DOJ can come up with guidelines are requirements for the new pads.
“When AB 1753 went into effect, a timeline for implementation was not established, which caused confusion and frustration for medical professionals and consumers alike,” Newsom wrote in his signing message. “AB 149 is needed to ensure patients throughout the state continue to receive their prescriptions quickly and easily while meeting the state’s need to aggressively address the opioid crisis.”
“The governor’s action will ensure that patients can access the medicine they need and will erase the confusion between pharmacies, patients and law enforcement that stemmed from the flawed implementation of last year’s law,” said CMA President David H. Aizuss, M.D. “We want to thank lawmakers for acting quickly to address the concerns raised by patients and physicians, and we look forward to continuing to work with state lawmakers to address the state’s opioid crisis while ensuring patients who need medicine have the access they need.”