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Changes in Pharmacy Law May Make it More Difficult to Get Certain Prescriptions

David W. Hodges
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Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
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Pharmacy laws in this nation are constantly changing, and new federal regulations will now make it more difficult for customers to get certain prescribed medications. According to the new law that goes into effect on October 6, 2014, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has reclassified hydrocodone as a Schedule II drug. This means that drugs like vicodin, loritab, and tussionex cough syrup, as well as other drugs that the hydrocodone chemical is found in, will be more difficult for customers to get from the pharmacy.

New Rules for Hydrocodone

According to IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, hydrocodone was the most-prescribed drug in the nation in 2010. Because many people are abusing this prescription drug, the new law makes it harder for customers to get. In addition to reclassifying hydrocodone, the law changes the following:

  • Prescriptions for this drug can no longer be phoned in
  • Prescriptions for this drug can’t be faxed in
  • Prescriptions for this drug must be handwritten and delivered in person
  • Prescriptions for this drug cannot come from a nurse practitioner or physician assistant
  • Prescriptions for this drug can only come from a fully qualified physician
  • Refills for this prescription are prohibited, unless a doctor approves another prescription

Because pharmacies will now have to comply with stricter storage and handling laws, prescriptions for hydrocodone may be delayed if a pharmacy is delayed in receiving its supply. While customers who really need this prescription for pain management may be frustrated with these changes, the law was changed to help stop the drug abuse from happening.

In order to learn about other pharmacy laws that have changed in your state or nationwide, please view our articles and blogs found under the State Pharmacy Laws tab.

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