January 04, 2019

Paper Opioid Prescriptions, A Visage of the Past



On October 24, 2019, paper opioid prescriptions will be a visage of the past.  That’s because Governor Tom Wolf signed into law HB 353, POS’s signature initiative to require e-prescribing of controlled substances.  With Act 96, the state government took a great stride toward eliminating illegal opioid medication diversion to the streets. 

The Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society led the way on this important legislation.  To be part of the solution to the opioid addiction crisis, POS conceived the legislation, recruited legislative sponsors, and shepherded the bill through the General Assembly.  HB 353 passed both the House and Senate with no dissenting votes.  Governor Wolf signed Act 96 into law on October 24, 2018.  The statute is effective in one year. 

Introduced by State Representative Tedd Nesbit (R, Mercer, Butler), Act 96 ensures opioid prescriptions go directly from a physician’s office to the patient’s chosen pharmacy electronically.   Paper prescriptions and prescription pads will no longer be available for criminals to steal, sell, forge or alter.  Act 96 will do more to prevent this illegal drug trade than any other measure the General Assembly has considered in the past four years.  Senator Richard Alloway (R, Adams, Franklin, York) introduced a companion Senate Bill.

The statute contains 11 exceptions to the e-prescribing mandate, however.  Among them are hospice and veterinarian prescriptions; when e-prescribing is not available to be issued or received due to a temporary technological or electrical failure; when a practitioner or health care facility does not have internet access or an electronic health record system; and prescriptions generated from an emergency department. 
 

Asif Ilyas, MD                                             Angela Rowe, DO, MBA, FAOAO
President                                                   Immediate Past President 

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