Are Your Prescription Forms Compliant?
The Medical Board of California (Board) has received inquiries from physicians regarding
some pharmacies refusing to fill prescriptions written on non-compliant prescription
forms. The Board urges physicians to verify their prescription forms are compliant
with state law prior to using the form.
Since July 2012, California Health and Safety Code Section 11162.1 requires 14 elements
to appear on California Security Prescription Forms, the forms which replaced the
triplicate prescription form. State law also requires California Security Prescription
Forms to be produced by printers licensed by the California Department of Justice
Prescription Printers Program).
Pursuant to California law, prescription forms for controlled substances must be
printed with the following features:
(Source: California Health & Safety Code Section 11162.1.)
- 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.
- A watermark on the backside of the prescription blank; the watermark shall consist
of the words “California Security Prescription.”
- A chemical void protection that prevents alteration by chemical washing.
- A feature printed in thermochromic ink.
- An area of opaque writing so that the writing disappears if the prescription is
- A description of the security features included on each prescription form.
- (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
(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
- 151 and over.
- 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.”
- The preprinted name, category of licensure, license number, federal controlled substance
registration number, and address of the prescribing practitioner.
- Check boxes on the form so that the prescriber may indicate the number of refills
- The date of origin of the prescription.
- A check box indicating the prescriber’s order not to substitute.
- An identifying number assigned to the approved security printer by the Department of Justice.
- A check box by the name of each prescriber when a prescription form lists multiple
Interim Solutions for Prescribers:
- Prescribers and dispensers need to immediately verify they are using compliant prescription
forms that contain all of the elements listed above.
- Prescribers with non-compliant forms should re-order compliant forms from a
DOJ-licensed security printer. Prescribers should verify that the form contains
all of the elements listed above before purchase. The DOJ Approved List of Security
Prescription Printers is available here.
- Prescribers with non-compliant forms should consider using e-prescribing for controlled
- Schedule III through V controlled substances may be filled (and refilled) if the
pharmacist treats the prescription as an oral prescription and verifies orally with
the prescriber the number of any refills ordered with notations on the security
form. See Health and Safety Code section 11200 for more information.
- California law provides that Schedule II drugs cannot generally be orally prescribed,
nor can they be refilled using a California Security Prescription. However, when
there is no alternative except to prescribe a Schedule II controlled medication
using a non-compliant California Security Form to allow patients to receive their
pain medications timely, prescribers and dispensers should communicate about why
a non-compliant California Security Form is being used on a temporary basis. See
Health and Safety Code section 11200 for more information.
- There are exceptions in some cases that allow other ways to prescribe California
Health and Safety Code sections 11159.2 for terminally ill and 11162.1(c) for health
care facilities with 25 or more physicians.
Reporting Requirements for Lost or Stolen Prescription Pads
A physician who suspects that his or her prescription pads have been
lost or stolen should take the following steps immediately:
- First, the theft or loss must be reported to the local law enforcement (police
or sheriff’s department). A physician should make an incident report with law enforcement
in order to be protected. He or she will then have proof that prescriptions written
on that pad after the date the theft was reported were not written by him or her.
The physician will need a law enforcement agency report number to proceed to
- Next, pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 11165.3, the theft or loss of any tamper-resistant
prescription forms must be reported by the physician to the Department of Justice (DOJ)
Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) program no later than three
days after the discovery of the theft or loss. A law enforcement agency
report number is required when submitting a report of lost or stolen prescription
forms to CURES. This notification may be accomplished electronically by logging
into the physician’s CURES account, or by emailing
obtain a report to file with the California Department of Justice; CURES Program;
P.O. Box 160447; Sacramento, CA 95816. If you have additional questions or concerns
regarding lost or stolen tamper-resistant prescriptions forms, please contact the
CURES Program at (916) 227-4704 or email the Security Prescription Printer Program
- Next, notify the California State Board of Pharmacy at
The Board of Pharmacy has a webpage listing physicians whose prescription pads
have been reported stolen:
The webpage is available 24/7 to pharmacists, law enforcement, and the public.
- Physicians should also notify the Medical Board by an email to
or a letter describing the circumstances and actions taken by the physician in response
to the suspected theft. The letter should be written on a physician’s professional
letterhead, signed, and mailed to the Medical Board of California; Central Complaint
Unit; 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1200; Sacramento, CA 95815.
For additional information, contact the Medical Board’s Central Complaint Unit at