Prescription drug database changes looming

All dentists who are authorized to prescribe, order, administer, furnish or dispense controlled substances must register for the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) by Jan. 1, 2016. All dispensed controlled substance prescriptions are recorded in CURES, which allows prescribers to look up a patient's controlled substance current usage and past history.

The Jan. 1 requirement was part of a bill enacted in 2014 (SB 809 DeSaulneir), which requires the Department of Justice (DOJ), in conjunction with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and certain licensing boards, to, among other things, develop a streamlined application and approval process to provide access to the CURES database, which is also referred to as the California Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), for licensed health care practitioners and pharmacists.

Dentists who plan to register before Jan. 1, and even those dentists who are already registered, should be aware of changes to the system that are currently underway.

The DOJ and the DCA recently announced that a new CURES 2.0 went live on July 1. This upgraded prescription drug monitoring program features a variety of performance improvements and added functionality.

In order to ensure a smooth transition from the current system, CURES 2.0 will be rolled out to users in phases over the next several months, beginning with early adoption by a select group of users who currently use CURES and meet the CURES 2.0 security standards, including minimum browser specifications. The DOJ is currently identifying prescribers and dispensers who meet these criteria and will contact and coordinate their enrollment into CURES 2.0. For all other current users, access to CURES 1.0 will not change and no action is needed at this time.

Re-registration for CURES 1.0 users will not be required. Currently registered users, when migrated to CURES 2.0, will simply be asked to reset their password and update their user profile information.

CURES 2.0 users are required to use Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 11.0 or greater, Mozilla FireFox, Google Chrome or Safari when accessing the system. According to the DOJ, CURES 1.0 will continue to be available until Jan. 1 for users with noncompliant browsers, to provide ample time for the browser upgrade required for CURES 2.0

Dentists should begin to prepare for universal adoption of the system by January, at which point all users will be required to meet CURES 2.0's security standards. (Go to pmp.doj.ca.gov to register.) If dentists have any questions, they can email cures@doj.ca.gov.

Related Items

In California, more than 1 billion dosage units of hydrocodone combination products were dispensed in the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to the state’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). What's more, approximately 100 percent of the hydrocodone use worldwide occurs in the U.S., according to Tony J. Park, PharmD, JD, who co-hosted a lecture on the topic at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in Anaheim on May 2.

Following the October 2014 reclassification under federal law of hydrocodone combination products (HCPs) such as Vicodin and Norco from federal Schedule III to federal Schedule II, some dentists report pharmacies refusing to fill emergency prescriptions telephoned in for HCPs, under circumstances in which they may traditionally have been accepted. This article is intended to clarify the state of the law with regard to such HCPs and help dentists understand the requirements and limitations on oral prescriptions for a Schedule II drug.