In late February 2019, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill (AB) 149, which is expected to be signed into law next week and delays implementation of AB 1753 from 2019 to 2021. The bill includes an urgency clause meaning the bill will take effect immediately after it is signed.
AB 1753, which took effect January 1, 2019, requires prescription forms for controlled substances to have a unique serial number to help standardize the tracking of the prescription pads. Unfortunately, AB 1753 did not include any transition period to allow for printing companies to make newly mandated changes to the prescription pads and for prescribers to order new prescription forms and utilize existing tamper-resistant prescription forms. This has resulted with some patients being unable to obtain pain medications.
Under AB 149, pharmacists will be authorized to fill prescriptions written on otherwise valid forms that do not meet the new serialized number requirement until January 1, 2021. Additionally, the new implementation date for the new prescription forms to include a unique serial number will be determined by the Department of Justice and no later than January 1, 2020.
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