Nebraska News: "Fill After" Prescriptions for Schedule II Controlled Substances Not Valid

Topics: Controlled substances

Published in the January 2007 Nebraska Board of Pharmacy Newsletter

There has been some confusion about a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulation regarding Schedule II prescriptions with “fill after” dates.

On August 26, 2005, DEA published a clarification of its policy in the Federal Register stating, “For a physician to prepare multiple prescriptions [for a Schedule II controlled substance (CS)] on the same day with instructions to fill on different dates is tantamount to writing a prescription authorizing refills of a [S]chedule II [CS].’’ To do so conflicts with the Nebraska Uniform Controlled Substances Act Nebraska Revised Statute §28-414(1)(a), which states “…A prescription for a [CS] listed in [S]chedule II of section 28-405 shall not be refilled.”

DEA is in the process of proposing new rules, which would allow a practitioner to issue multiple prescriptions at one time with directions to fill each prescription after a specified date on the prescription. The limit of time to issue the prescriptions for future fills has not been determined by the DEA at this point.

This new rule will not allow refills of Schedule II CS but will permit the issuance of multiple prescriptions to be filled after a specified date indicated on the face of each prescription.

There is no restriction that requires the patient to be seen by the physician every month. The physician may mail the prescription to the patient or pharmacy, or fax the prescription to the pharmacy, so long as the original written, signed prescription is presented to the pharmacist prior to the CS being dispensed (Nebraska Revised Statute §28-414).

Until such rule becomes official, the pharmacist must realize that prescriptions written with “fill after” dates or “Do not fill until ___” are not valid.

For additional information, please review the DEA Web site at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/.

By Kevin Borcher, RP, Vice Chairman of the Nebraska Board of Pharmacy