This fact sheet highlights recent amendments to the MA Controlled Substances Act and also includes other sections of the statute, written in plain English that remain the subject of frequent questions.

MGL Chapter 94C, s. 18 (d½)- A prescription for a narcotic substance contained in Schedule II of section 3 may also be issued by a physician who is licensed to practice medicine and registered in Maine or in a state contiguous with the commonwealth wherein such physician resides or practices, if required, and registered under federal law to write prescriptions. A registered pharmacist filling a prescription under this subsection shall determine, in accordance with professional standards and personal judgment, that such prescription is authentic and valid and shall verify the prescription by telephonic or other means. A pharmacist shall not fill a prescription for which verification cannot be obtained. A pharmacist shall not be liable for refusing to fill a prescription for which verification cannot be obtained provided that documented good faith efforts were made to determine the authenticity and validity of such prescription. This subsection shall only apply to authorizations for the filling of prescriptions within the commonwealth, issued within the preceding 5 days, (Effective December 1, 2013.)

MGL Chapter 94C, s. 20(c) - Eliminates the requirement for a written follow-up Schedule VI prescription for an oral prescription. (Effective 1998)

MGL Chapter 94C, s. 23(a) - Permits a Schedule II prescription issued by an authorized Massachusetts prescriber to be valid for 30 days. (Effective 1998)

MGL Chapter 94C, s. 23(d) - Permits pharmacists to fill a prescription for Schedule II and III implantable infusion pumps for up to a 90 day supply. (Effective 1998)

MGL Chapter 94C, s. 23 (g) –Allows a prescription to be transmitted electronically. (Effective 1998)

MGL Chapter 94C, s. 23(g) – Mandates a written prescription to be on a tamper resistant form consistent with federal requirements for Medicaid. (Effective July 1, 2013.)

For more information, call the Drug Control Program at (617) 983-6700.


This information is provided by the Drug Control Program within the Department of Public Health.