Massachusetts Laws

Massachusetts Regulations

Federal Laws

Federal Regulations

General Information

Drugged Driving

Drug Liability

Medical Marijuana

Proper Disposal

Massachusetts Laws

St. 2016, c.52 An Act Relative to Substance Use, Treatment, Education and Prevention ("Opioid law")
MGL c.13, §§ 22-25 Board of Registration in Pharmacy
MGL c.94C Controlled Substances Act
MGL c.94D Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act (research into the use of medical marijuana)

MGL c.112 :

MGL c.112, § 12H Physicians
MGL c.112, § 21A Podiatrists
MGL c.112, § 50A Dentists
MGL c.112, § 56B Veterinarians
MGL c.112, § 66B Optometrists
MGL c.112, § 80E Nurse Practitioners
MGL c.112, § 80G Nurse-Midwives
MGL c.112, § 80H Nurse Anesthetists

MGL c.175H, § 3 Allows people to use prescription drug coupons (effective 7/1/2012 through 7/1/2015)

St.2014, c.159 Pharmacy Practice. Charges the Board of Registration in Pharmacy with creating new regulations to implement changes regarding licenses, education, labeling and inspections and requires these pharmacies to have staffed consumer hotlines during working hours. Compounding pharmacies must also eventually report certain information on the Department of Public Health website for viewing by consumers. 

Massachusetts Regulations

105 CMR 700 pdf format of 105 CMR 700 
Implementation of the Controlled Substances Act (MGL c. 94C)

105 CMR 700.002 pdf format of 105 CMR 700.002
 Schedules of controlled substances

105 CMR 700.012 pdf format of 105 CMR 700.012
and 247 CMR 5 pdf format of 247 CMR 5
Prescription Monitoring Program

105 CMR 720 pdf format of 105 CMR 720
List of interchangeable drug products

105 CMR 721 pdf format of 105 CMR 721 
Standards for approved prescription forms in Massachusetts

105 CMR 722 pdf format of 105 CMR 722
Dispensing procedures for pharmacists

105 CMR 724 pdf format of 105 CMR 724
Implementation of the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act (MGL c. 94D)

247 CMR Board of Registration in Pharmacy - Oversees pharmacies, including compounding pharmacies

247 CMR 9 pdf format of 247 CMR 9
Code of Professional Conduct; Professional Standards for registered pharmacists, pharmacies and pharmacy departments, including regulations on drug advertising

Federal Laws

21 U.S.C. Chapter 9 Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C). U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Federal Regulations

Title 21 CFR :

  • Chapter I: Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Chapter II: Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice: Parts 1300-1321 - Controlled Substances

Information by Topic


Drugged Driving

Massachusetts Laws

MGL c.90, s.24 Drunk/Drugged Driving

Selected Cases

Commonwealth v. Bishop , 78 Mass.App.Ct. 70 (2010), review denied 458 Mass. 1110
On the issue of involuntary intoxication, a judge should instruct the jury that a defendant is entitled to an acquittal if her intoxication was caused solely by her prescription medication, taken as prescribed, and she did not know or have reason to know of the possible effects of the drug on her driving abilities, but the jury can find the defendant guilty if they find that alcohol contributed to her intoxication.

Commonwealth v. Reynolds , 67 Mass.App.Ct. 215 (2006), review denied 447 Mass. 1112
Court correctly denied defendant's motion for required finding of not guilty of felony vehicular homicide where there was evidence on the essential element of intoxication that the defendant knew the consequences of taking the prescription drugs she consumed.

Web Sources

Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets . National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2014
Describes the effects of illegal and prescription drugs, including the drugs' effects on driving

Print Sources

Trying OUI Cases in Massachusetts , MCLE, loose-leaf. Chapter 1: Trial Preparation, sections 1.6.5 - OUI of Prescription Drugs, and 1.6.6 - OUI of Alcohol and Prescription Drugs.

Medical-Legal Aspects of Drugs , 2nd ed. Lawyers & Judges Pub., 2007. Chapter 12: "Prosecuting Drugged Driving Cases" (p. 168 addresses prescription drugs); Chapter 16: "The Study of Drug Effects on Driving"

Massachusetts Practice v. 12 (Motor Vehicle Law and Practice) , ThomsonWest, with supplement. Section 28:36 - Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol--M.G.L.A. c.90, s.24

Drug Liability

Select Cases

Cottam v. CVS Pharmacy , 436 Mass. 316 (2002)
Court described the "learned intermediary doctrine" wherein a physician acts as a "learned intermediary" between the drug manufacturer or distributor and the consuming patient. As a result, a pharmacy has the duty only to fill the prescription correctly. Only a physician, not a pharmacy or a drug manufacturer, has a duty to warn a customer about a drug's side effects. A pharmacy which voluntarily assumes the duty to warn, however, such as by providing a list of a drug's side effects, must exercise reasonable care. In addition, a pharmacy may have a duty to warn if it has specific knowledge of increased danger to a particular customer such as filling two prescriptions which adversely interact with each other. See, for example, Brienze v. Casserly, 17 Mass.L.Rep. 214 (2003) : Court held that the CVS pharmacist had a duty to warn the plaintiff that taking Ciproflaxin and Theophylline together could potentially result in adverse effects.

Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals , 509 U.S. 579 (1993)
Court set the standard for admitting expert scientific testimony in a federal trial. There was conflicting expert evidence offered as to whether the ingestion of the prescription antinausea drug, Bendectin, by a mother during her pregnancy caused the adverse effects of limb reduction birth defects suffered by her children.

Commonwealth v. Lanigan , 419 Mass. 15 (1994)
Massachusetts accepted the basic reasoning of Daubert, above, concerning admissibility of scientific evidence

Reckis v. Johnson & Johnson , 471 Mass. 272 (2015).
Failure to warn case involving children's Motrin. Court ruled that damages in excess of $50 million were not excessive.

Web Sources

Product Liability Claims Involving Pharmaceutical Drugs .

Print Sources

Drug Product Liability . Matthew Bender, loose-leaf

Litigating the Nursing Home Case . American Bar Association, 2009. Chapter 13: Liability for Prescription Drug Problems

Massachusetts Practice v. 10A (Procedural Forms Annotated) , ThomsonWest, with supplement. Section 43:12 - Action against pharmacist - Negligent prescription; Section 43:24 - Action against psychiatrist - Negligent prescription of drugs

Massachusetts Practice v. 51 (Professional Malpractice) , ThomsonWest, with supplement. Section 12.14 - Pharmacists; Section 13.2 - The learned intermediary doctrine

Massachusetts Practice v. 52 (The Law of Chapter 93A) , ThomsonWest, with supplement Section 9.29 - Torts --Pharmacist malpractice, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies

Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR) . Thomson PDR

PDR Guide to Drug Interactions, Side Effects, and Indications . Thomson PDR

Medical Marijuana

Massachusetts Law

St.2012, c.369
Allows use of marijuana for medical purposes. 


105 CMR 725 pdf format of 105 CMR 725
Implementation of an Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana

801 CMR 4.02 pdf format of 801 CMR 4.02 p7
Establishes fees to implement the Dept. of Public Health's program for the medical use of marijuana

Web Sources

Medical Marijuana in Massachusetts, Mass. Dept. of Public Health
Includes regulations, frequently asked questions, and more

Medical Marijuana , Mass. Medical Society
Links to information on issues for physicians regarding medical marijuana

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Mass. Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
Provides the current status and location of all registered medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts. 

Proper Disposal

Web Sources

Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know . U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Got Drugs? National Take-Back Initiative . U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Includes information on safely discarding waste medications

Last update: May 12, 2017

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