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Dentists must use compliant controlled-substance Rx forms beginning January 2021

Electronic prescribing is an option and will become mandatory in 2022

September 08, 2020 9048

Quick Summary:

Prescribing dentists must order the compliant controlled-substance prescription forms directly from an approved "security prescription printer" listed on the state Department of Justice website. Or, prescribers can switch at any time to electronic prescribing, which will become mandatory in January 2022.

California law requires that prescribers of controlled substances begin using new and compliant tamper-resistant prescription forms beginning Jan. 1, 2021, to help reduce prescription fraud. The compliant forms contain unique serial numbers and barcodes that are linked to corresponding records in CURES. 

The barcode will be scannable by pharmacists and the serial number will also be compliant with current National Council for Prescription Drug Program standards.

Prescribers must order the forms by directly contacting one of the approved “security prescription printers” listed on the state Department of Justice website. “Forms Approved as AB-149 Compliant” should appear adjacent to the name of the printing company, but prescribers should confirm with the printer that the forms do in fact meet the new serial-number requirements for 2021 as mandated by Assembly Bill 149, which was signed into law in 2019.

AB 149 also extended the effective date of the new prescription-form requirement from January 2020, as originally required by previous legislation, to Jan. 1, 2021, following early implementation problems and reports that serial numbers did not comply with NCPDP standards.  

When placing an order, prescribers will need to provide their state license number and a copy of their DEA registration.

Electronic prescribing becomes mandatory in January 2022

Alternatively, prescribers can switch at any time to electronic prescribing, which will become mandatory in California in January 2022 as part of Assembly Bill 2789 passed in 2018. CDA advocated for the nearly three-year implementation window to give dentists and other health care providers time to obtain adequate e-prescribing systems and to train staff.

Electronic prescribing can reduce opportunities for diversion of controlled substances by eliminating the use of paper forms, which can be lost, stolen and used illegally. E-prescribing also can help provide timely patient care.

Order the compliant prescription forms or read CDA's Q&A on how to start prescribing controlled substances electronically.