Starting on January 1, 2021, the only controlled substance prescription forms that will remain valid and acceptable by California pharmacies will be those possessing a 12-character serial number and a corresponding barcode, compliant with the requirements introduced in a new state law, AB 149. Pharmacists will not be permitted to fill any new or refill prescriptions submitted on the old noncompliant form beginning January 1. The requirements do not affect prescriptions that are electronically transmitted from the prescriber to the pharmacy, or prescriptions for non-controlled substances such as antibiotics. If you have questions about whether your controlled substance paper prescription form is compliant, talk to your prescriber.
- NEWS RELEASE: New Year Means New Requirements for Paper Prescription Forms
- AB 149 Joint Statement - New Requirements for Rx Forms
Are Your Prescription Forms Compliant?
Starting January 1, 2021, California state law requires 15 elements to appear on California Security Prescription Forms, the forms which replaced the triplicate prescription form. State law also requires California Security Prescription Forms to be produced by printers licensed by the California Department of Justice: California Security Prescription Printers Program
The Board of Registered Nursing urges licensees to verify their prescription forms are complaint with state law prior to issuing prescriptions. Prescribers who do not possess these prescription pads are encouraged to place an order as soon as possible from a Security Prescription Printer approved by the Department of Justice. Doing so will help ensure you receive compliant prescription pads in a timely manner.
California-approved security printers have been issuing these prescription pads since the beginning of 2020. Starting January 1, 2021, except for limited emergency situations, pharmacists will be unable to fill a controlled substances prescription that is not on a compliant form.
Pursuant to California law, prescription forms for controlled substances must be printed with the following features:
- A latent, repetitive "void" pattern across the entire front of the prescription blank; if a prescription is scanned or photocopied, the word "void" shall appear in a pattern across the entire front of the prescription.
- A watermark on the backside of the prescription blank; the watermark shall consist of the words "California Security Prescription."
- A chemical void protection that prevents alteration by chemical washing.
- A feature printed in thermochromic ink.
- An area of opaque writing so that the writing disappears if the prescription is lightened.
- A description of the security features included on each prescription form.
- (A) Six quantity check off boxes on the form so that the prescriber may indicate the quantity by checking the applicable box where the following quantities shall appear:
- 151 and over.
- Prescription blanks shall contain a statement printed on the bottom of the prescription blank that the "Prescription is void if the number of drugs prescribed is not noted."
- The preprinted name, category of licensure, license number, federal controlled substance registration number, and address of the prescribing practitioner.
- Check boxes on the form so that the prescriber may indicate the number of refills ordered.
- The date of origin of the prescription.
- A check box indicating the prescriber’s order not to substitute.
- An identifying number assigned to the approved security printer by the Department of Justice.
- A check box by the name of each prescriber when a prescription form lists multiple prescribers.
- A unique serialized number.
The DOJ Approved List of Security Prescription Printers is available here.