TRIPLICATE Rx: Proposed Law Would Eliminate ‘Cumbersome’ Paperwork
AB 2018, a recently proposed measure aiming to "eliminate the paperwork burden associated with certain prescription drugs," would repeal a state law requiring prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances to be written on a "triplicate" form. Currently, physicians ordering controlled drugs for their patients must prescribe them using a state-issued form that has three copies. The doctor and the pharmacist each retain a copy; the original is mailed to the state Department of Justice. Additionally, the pharmacist must report this same information electronically through the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation Systems (CURES), a pilot program that is slated to end July 1, 2003, but would become permanent under the proposal. Assemblywoman Helen Thomson (D-Davis), who introduced the bill along with Assemblyman George Runner (R-Lancaster), said, "Triplicate prescriptions act as a barrier to pain management and place an additional burden on patients in pain. ... We now have the technology to eliminate the cumbersome paperwork associated with prescribing these medications." Supporters of the measure also argue that triplicates interfere with the doctor-patient relationship since physicians subject to such laws are "more likely to cite ... reluctance to prescribe opioids and concern about excessive drug regulation as barriers to cancer pain management" (Thomson release, 2/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.