Prescription Requirements

Prescribers should be using electronic prescribing for both controlled and uncontrolled substances (mandatory as of 01/01/2022). Prescribers can provide paper prescriptions directly to a patient only in situations that qualify as exceptions to the electronic data prescribing mandate. Exceptions that may apply to prescribing naturopathic doctors (ND) include:

  • The electronic data transmission prescription is not available due to a temporary technological or electronic failure of a computer system, application or device or a service interruption. If prescribing a controlled substance, the prescriber must document in the patient’s record the reason for the failed electronic transmission.
  • The prescriber is issuing a prescription for dispensing by a pharmacy located outside of California.
  • The prescribing health care practitioner and the dispenser are the same entity.

Prescribers can also call-in prescriptions for noncontrolled substances in situations that qualify as exceptions under the state law, but only in emergency situations can prescribers call in prescriptions for schedule II drugs.

For more information regarding Electronic Data Transmission Prescriptions (E-Prescriptions) please visit the California Board of Pharmacy’s website using the link provided below.

Are Your Prescription Forms Compliant?

Starting January 1, 2021, California state law requires 15 security elements, including a 12-character serial number and corresponding barcode, to appear on California Security Prescription Forms. State law also requires California Security Prescription Forms to be produced by printers approved by the California Department of Justice’s California Security Prescription Printers Program.

The California Board of Naturopathic Medicine urges licensees to verify their prescription forms are compliant with state law prior to issuing prescriptions. Prescribers who do not possess these prescription pads are encouraged to place an order as soon as possible from a Security Prescription Printer approved by the Department of Justice. Doing so will help ensure you receive compliant prescription pads in a timely manner.

California-approved security printers have been issuing these prescription pads since the beginning of 2020. Starting January 1, 2021, except for limited emergency situations, pharmacists will be unable to fill a controlled substances prescription that is not on a compliant form.

Pursuant to California law, prescription forms for controlled substances must be printed with the following features:

  1. A latent, repetitive “void” pattern across the entire front of the prescription blank; if a prescription is scanned or photocopied, the word “void” shall appear in a pattern across the entire front of the prescription.
  2. A watermark on the backside of the prescription blank; the watermark shall consist of the words “California Security Prescription.”
  3. A chemical void protection that prevents alteration by chemical washing.
  4. A feature printed in thermochromic ink.
  5. An area of opaque writing so that the writing disappears if the prescription is lightened.
  6. A description of the security features included on each prescription form.
  7. (A) Six quantity check off boxes on the form so that the prescriber may indicate the quantity by checking the applicable box where the following quantities shall appear:
    1. 1–24
    2. 25–49
    3. 50–74
    4. 75–100
    5. 101–150
    6. 151 and over.
    (B) In conjunction with the quantity boxes, a space shall be provided to designate the units referenced in the quantity boxes when the drug is not in tablet or capsule form.
  8. Prescription blanks shall contain a statement printed on the bottom of the prescription blank that the “Prescription is void if the number of drugs prescribed is not noted.”
  9. The preprinted name, category of licensure, license number, federal controlled substance registration number, and address of the prescribing practitioner.
  10. Check boxes on the form so that the prescriber may indicate the number of refills ordered.
  11. The date of origin of the prescription.
  12. A check box indicating the prescriber’s order not to substitute.
  13. An identifying number assigned to the approved security printer by the Department of Justice.
  14. A check box by the name of each prescriber when a prescription form lists multiple prescribers.
  15. A unique serialized number, which must be:
    • Compliant with all state and federal requirements.
    • Utilizable as a barcode that may be scanned by dispensers.
    • Compliant with current National Council for Prescription Drug Program Standards.

Additionally, each batch of controlled substance prescription forms shall have the lot number printed on the form and each form within that batch shall be numbered sequentially beginning with the numeral one.

For more information, please refer to the AB 149 Joint Statement.