Effective October 6, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reclassified all hydrocodone-containing products from Schedule III drugs (CIII) to Schedule II drugs (CII) under the Controlled Substance Act.
According to the DEA, hydrocodone-containing products (i.e. Lortab, Hycotuss, Norco, Tussionex, Vicodin, etc.) were dispensed approximately 136 million times during 2013, making it the most prescribed medication in America. The DEA’s motivation for this move is to deter prescription drug abuse by making these medications less readily available, while protecting the health and safety of the public.
Due to the rescheduling, called-in or faxed prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing products are prohibited in non-emergency circumstances. Thus, in many situations a signed prescription by the physician is required before the medication can be dispensed. For skilled nursing/hospice patients, however, a faxed order is still perfectly acceptable.
Requests for emergency supplies must follow protocol similar to other CII medication, meaning a hardcopy must be presented, mailed or faxed with prescriber signature within seven days of issuing the emergency dosage.
Furthermore, like other CII medications, physicians can no longer authorize refills on the original prescription. Any orders prescribed prior to October 6 can still be refilled until the prescription reaches its expiration, six months from the original date written.
This new law means new processes and additional time both for the prescribers and for the facilities. Here at Wilmot Pharmacy, we are committed to making sure patients receive the medications they need while providing world class service and adhering to regulations. For more information on this new law or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact a pharmacist at 520-818-2883.