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New Requirements for Controlled Substances Prescription Forms Take Effect Jan. 1

For pharmacy staff

Effective Jan. 1, 2021, prescriptions for controlled substances that are issued on a paper form must meet certain security requirements included in Assembly Bill (AB) 149. Specifically, AB 149 imposes new format requirements on the serial number and adds a barcode requirement.  

jointly produced document from the California Department of Justice, Medical Board of California, and the Board of Pharmacy outlines the new requirements. The only California controlled substances prescription forms that will remain valid and acceptable by pharmacies will be those possessing a 12 character serial number and corresponding barcode compliant with the requirements introduced in AB 149. 

After Dec. 31, 2020, the following controlled substances prescription forms will no longer be valid and accepted by pharmacies:  

  • Forms valid prior to Jan. 1, 2019, that do not contain a uniquely serialized number in compliance with Health and Safety Code section 11162.1(a)(15) 
  • Forms approved by the Department of Justice as of Jan. 1, 2019. when a 15 character serialized number format was approved by the Department of Justice