California Controlled Substance Prescription Law Revision
Early last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 149 (Cooper) which provides a transition period for implementing a new law requiring new security prescription forms for prescriptions for controlled substances. The bill immediately went into effect March 11th, 2019.
AB 149 is intended to resolve problems unintentionally created by AB 1753 (Low, Chapter 794, Statutes of 2018), which reduced the number of authorized security printers approved by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and required security prescription forms to have unique serialized numbers. AB 1753 took effect January 1, 2019.
However, not all prescribers have been able to obtain the security prescription forms required by the law or have unknowingly continued using non-compliant prescription forms. As a result, some pharmacists were caught in a difficult position having to decide whether to provide needed medication for patients or comply with the new law.
AB 149 delays the requirement for prescription forms with uniquely serialized numbers until a date to be determined by DOJ but no later than January 1, 2020; and also declares that any prescription written on a form that was otherwise valid before January 1, 2019, or was written on a form approved by DOJ as of January 1, 2019, is valid and may be filled, compounded or dispensed until January 1, 2021.