New Forms Required for Controlled Substance Prescriptions in California

Dentistry Today


Dentists in California who prescribe controlled substances now must use prescription forms that include a serialized number in a format approved by the Department of Justice. The law, which went into effect on January 1, 2019, does not include any transition period to allow for the continued use of old controlled substance security prescription forms.

However, the Enforcement Committee of the Board of Pharmacy has recommended that the board not investigate or instigate any action against pharmacists who, in the exercise of their professional judgment, determine that it is in the best interest of patient or public health or safety to fill prescriptions written on previous forms. In such situations, pharmacists will be encouraged to:

  • Communicate with the prescriber about the need for a compliant security prescription
  • Advise the prescriber to substitute an electronic prescription
  • Continue with the prescriber about whether the patient might be terminally ill and eligible for an exempt prescription under Health and Safety Code section 11159.2
  • Treat prescription orders written on the outdated forms for Schedule III, IV, and V medications as oral prescriptions and verifying the order telephonically with the prescriber’s office, pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 11164, subdivision (b)
  • Refuse to fill the prescription 

Schedule II prescriptions on noncompliant security prescription forms present unique challenges because of the inability to substitute an oral prescription, the board reports, making it especially important for pharmacists to use their professional judgment to get needed Schedule II medications to their patients. 

The same enforcement priority will be applied to these dispensing decisions until July 1, 2019. Pharmacists and pharmacies will identify prescribers who do not transition to the new security prescription forms in a timely manner to the appropriate prescribing board.

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