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Published: November 30, 2020

Important Reminder to Physicians Who Prescribe Controlled Substances

There are two critical changes to prescribing laws taking effect on January 1, 2021. First, pads used to write and fill prescriptions for controlled substances are required to have a 12-character serial number, a corresponding barcode, and other security features. Prescribers who do not possess these prescription pads are encouraged to place an order as soon as possible from one of the California-approved Security Prescription Printers. The Medical Board, Board of Pharmacy, and Department of Justice have developed an informational document further explaining these requirements. The other important change in the law is starting in 2021, dispensers must report controlled substance prescriptions to CURES 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. Further, the law requires reporting the dispensing of Schedule V drugs, in addition to Schedules II, III, and IV. For more information on CURES and prescription pad requirements, visit the Medical Board’s CURES webpage. 


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