Mass. General Laws c.94C § 23

Written prescriptions; requirements and restrictions

Table of Contents

Updates

Effective until January 1, 2020

(a) A written prescription for a controlled substance in Schedule II shall become invalid 30 days after the date of issuance.

(b) A written prescription for a controlled substance in Schedule II shall not be refilled and shall be kept in a separate file.

(c) The pharmacist filling a written prescription for a controlled substance in Schedule II shall endorse his own signature on the face thereof.

(d) In regard to a controlled substance in Schedule II or III, no prescription shall be filled for more than a thirty–day supply of such substance upon any single filling; provided, however, that with regard to dextro amphetamine sulphate and methyl phenidate hydrochloride, a prescription may be filled for up to a sixty–day supply of such substance upon any single filling if said substance is being used for the treatment of minimal brain dysfunction or narcolepsy; provided further, that subject to regulations of the department and the board of pharmacy, prescriptions for implantable infusion pumps consisting of Schedule II or Schedule III controlled substances may be filled for a maximum of 90 days.

(e) All prescriptions for controlled substances shall be kept for two years by the pharmacy and shall be subject to inspection pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

(f) No prescription for a controlled substance shall be refilled unless the original prescription provides for such refilling and unless the number of refills has been specified in said prescription.

(g) Unless otherwise prohibited by law, a prescription shall be: (1) written in ink, indelible pencil or by other means on a tamper resistant form consistent with federal requirements for Medicaid; or (2) transmitted electronically; and (3) signed by the prescriber. A prescription may be transmitted electronically with the electronic signature and electronic instructions of the prescriber, and shall be transmitted directly from the prescriber to the pharmacy designated by the patient without alteration of the prescription information, except that third-party intermediaries may act as conduits to route the prescription from the prescriber to the pharmacy.

(h) Clinic pharmacies operated by a health maintenance organization licensed under chapter one hundred and seventy–six G and licensed pursuant to section fifty–one of chapter one hundred and eleven may refill prescriptions which have been previously dispensed by another health maintenance organization clinic pharmacy, provided that prior to dispensing a refill, the pharmacy refilling the prescription verifies the appropriateness of the refill through a centralized database.

Effective January 1, 2020

(a) A written or electronic prescription for a controlled substance in Schedule II shall become invalid 30 days after the date of issuance.

(b) A written or electronic prescription for a controlled substance in schedule II shall not be refilled. Written prescriptions for a controlled substance in schedule II shall be kept in a separate file.

(c) The pharmacist filling a written or electronic prescription for a controlled substance in Schedule II shall endorse his own signature on the face thereof.

(d) In regard to a controlled substance in Schedule II or III, no prescription shall be filled for more than a thirty–day supply of such substance upon any single filling; provided, however, that with regard to dextro amphetamine sulphate and methyl phenidate hydrochloride, a prescription may be filled for up to a sixty–day supply of such substance upon any single filling if said substance is being used for the treatment of minimal brain dysfunction or narcolepsy; provided further, that subject to regulations of the department and the board of pharmacy, prescriptions for implantable infusion pumps consisting of Schedule II or Schedule III controlled substances may be filled for a maximum of 90 days.

(e) All prescriptions for controlled substances shall be kept for two years by the pharmacy and shall be subject to inspection pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

(f) No prescription for a controlled substance shall be refilled unless the original prescription provides for such refilling and unless the number of refills has been specified in said prescription.

(g) Prescribers shall issue an electronic prescription for all controlled substances and medical devices. The department shall promulgate regulations setting forth standards for electronic prescriptions.

(h) The commissioner, through regulation, shall establish exceptions to section 17 and subsection (g) authorizing the limited use of a written and oral prescription where appropriate. The exceptions shall be limited to: (i) prescriptions that are issued by veterinarians; (ii) prescriptions issued or dispensed in circumstances where electronic prescribing is not available due to temporary technological or electrical failure; (iii) a time-limited waiver process for practitioners who demonstrate economic hardship, technological limitations that are not reasonably within the control of the practitioner, or other exceptional circumstance; (iv) prescriptions that are issued or dispensed in emergency situations as defined by the commissioner pursuant to said section 17, including situations where the electronic prescription requirement would result in a delay that would adversely impact the patient’s medical condition; (v) when a prescription cannot be issued electronically under federal or state law or regulations; (vi) prescriptions issued outside the jurisdiction of the commonwealth; and (vii) other exceptions to said section 17 and said subsection (g) as the commissioner determines necessary; provided, however, that 90 days before promulgating or amending any regulations regarding other exceptions to said section 17 and said subsection (g), the commissioner shall file with the house and senate committees on ways and means, the joint committee on public health, and the joint committee on mental health, substance use and recovery a written report setting forth justification for such changes.

(i) All written prescriptions shall be written in ink, indelible pencil or by other means on a tamper resistant form consistent with federal requirements for Medicaid and signed by the prescribing practitioner.

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Last updated: June 21, 2019
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