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CA Reminder: New Prescription Mandates for Controlled Substances to Begin 2021

New Prescription Form Requirements

Beginning January 1, 2021, prescribers of controlled substances must use updated prescription forms, which include a 12-character serial number and corresponding barcode required by Assembly Bill 149 of 2019. This information will also be linked to corresponding records in the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES 2.0).

In lieu of using the new prescription forms, prescribers also have the option to utilize electronic prescribing, which becomes mandatory in 2022 under Assembly Bill 2789 passed in 2018. By 2022, all healthcare practitioners authorized to issue prescriptions must be able to electronically transmit prescriptions for both controlled and non-controlled substances unless specified exceptions are met.

Except for limited emergency situations, pharmacists will be unable to fill a prescription for a controlled substance that is not on a compliant form, starting on January 1, 2021. Prescribers can order the new forms from security prescription printer companies that have been pre-approved by the California Department of Justice.

Reporting Requirements for Dispensers

Under Assembly Bill 528 of 2019, starting January 1, 2021, the dispensing of a controlled substance must be reported to CURES 2.0 within one working day after the medication is released to the patient or the patient’s representative. Previously, the deadline to report was seven days after dispensing.

Additionally, the law requires the direct dispensing of a Schedule V drug, along with Schedules II, III, and IV, to be reported to CURES 2.0.

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