January 25, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Drug Prescribing/Dispensing
Flawed implementation of a new state law that requires all security prescription forms to have a unique serialized number has left pharmacies unable to fill prescriptions and patients being refused necessary medications.
The California Medical Association (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. This week, AB 149 (Assemblymembers Cooper, Arambula and Low) was introduced to correct the flawed implementation the new law, which was intended to improve the security of physician prescription pads as a solution to the opioid crisis.
CMA understands that reordering security prescription forms presents a great expense for many physician practices and is working to ensure that physician are able to comply with this new requirement in a way that does not adversely affect patient care.
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 judgement 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.
For more information, including answers to frequently asked questions about the implementation of this new law, see the joint statement from the medical board, pharmacy board and the Department of Justice.
CMA will provide additional information as it becomes available. Contact your legislators now to encourage their support of AB 149.
Contact: CMA legal information line, (800) 786-4262 or via email.