New Federal Rule Aims to Improve Tracking of Opioid Prescriptions

January 24, 2020


Elizabeth (Izzy) Montgomery, MPA
Policy Analyst

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In its latest effort to address the nation’s opioid crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today (Jan. 24) finalized a rule intended to provide improved tracking of amounts dispensed for Schedule II drugs.

The rule will enable a pharmacist to note whether he or she has dispensed a “partial fill,” i.e., an amount less than the full amount prescribed, or a refill of the full amount.

Schedule II drugs, as defined in part by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), are drugs with a high potential for abuse and include narcotics such as methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl. Partial refills of Schedule II drugs are permitted under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, which amended the CSA.

As policy efforts to address the opioid crisis continue to develop, providing the ability to distinguish refill types will enable better monitoring to prevent prohibited refills and provide better data to inform prescribing trends. The final rule will become effective March 24.

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