Earlier this year, I posted an update that a uniquely serialized number attributable to a prescriber must appear on California prescription forms for controlled substances. The new requirement became effective on January 1, 2019. The Enforcement Committee, however, recommended to the California State Board of Pharmacy to allow for grandfathering time until June 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, many pharmacists were caught in a difficult position having to decide between providing needed medication to patients versus compliance with the law.

Then, the Department of Justice announced that the new prescription pads were not available and it could not determine when the new forms will be available.

Recognizing the difficulty that this ambiguity created for the providers, the legislature amended AB 149 postponing the date of implementation of the new law until January 1, 2020. The bill specifies that any prescription written prior to January 1, 2019 on a form approved by the Department of Justice constitutes a valid prescription that may be filled, compounded, or dispensed until January 1, 2021. It also requires a barcode that may be scanned by dispensers.

Anticipating further delays, the legislature allowed the Department of Justice to extend the deadline for additional 6 months (if there is an inadequate availability of compliant prescription forms).