While many states have begun to require that all controlled substances be prescribed electronically as a means of addressing the public health and safety crises associated with prescription drug abuse, that practice has not been established in California. Unless mandatory e-prescribing becomes the norm in California, other safety measures will attempt to safeguard the system.
One such measure stems from legislation passed this year to create a structure for the California Department of Justice’s Security Printers Program.
Currently, the California Department of Justice’s Security Printers Program regulates the third-party printing of prescription pads. AB 1753 by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Santa Clara) has granted the Department of Justice the authority to regulate vetted vendors selected to manufacture prescription pads by adding new controls, including limiting the number of vendors the state approves for printing, and linking uniquely serialized pads with the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). The new regulations are intended to help combat fraudulent prescriptions and create stricter reporting controls by vendors as conventionally produced pads are very difficult to track by law enforcement.
The California Department of Justice has put up a link with the approved list of vendors who operate security prescription printers. The goal of the new legislation’s provision for an approved list of printers is to ensure the correct ordering, delivery, use, and reporting of prescription forms for controlled substances.
Among an extensive list of requirements for vendors, physicians should know:
- Before printing any controlled substance prescription forms, a security printer shall verify with the appropriate licensing board that the prescriber possesses a license and current prescribing privileges that permits the prescribing of controlled substances with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
- Controlled substance prescription forms shall be provided directly to the prescriber either in person, by certified mail, or by a means that requires a signature acknowledging receipt of the package and provision of that signature to the security printer. Controlled substance prescription forms provided in person shall be restricted to established customers. Security printers shall obtain photo identification from the customer and maintain a log of this information. Controlled substance prescription forms shall be shipped only to the prescriber’s address on file and verified with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration or the Medical Board of California.
- Security printers shall retain ordering and delivery records in a readily retrievable manner for individual prescribers for three years.
- Security printers shall produce ordering and delivery records upon request by an authorized officer of the law.
- Security printers shall report any theft or loss of controlled substance prescription forms to the Department of Justice via fax or email within 24 hours of the theft or loss.
Here's the list of California Department of Justice approved vendors for security prescription printers: https://oag.ca.gov/security-printers/approved-list.
Gabriela Villanueva is CAP’s Public Affairs Analyst. Questions or comments related to this article should be directed to gvillanueva@CAPphysicians.com.