CMS sets Oct. 1 deadline for use of tamper-resistant prescription pads

Baltimore-Beginning Oct. 1, all physicians must use tamper-resistant prescription pads for the non-electronic prescriptions they write for patients receiving Medicaid assistance for outpatient care.

Baltimore-Beginning Oct. 1, all physicians must use tamper-resistant prescription pads for the non-electronic prescriptions they write for patients receiving Medicaid assistance for outpatient care.

The recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ruling includes OTC drugs in states that reimburse for prescriptions for such items. Exempt from the ruling are prescriptions provided in nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded, and other specified institutional and clinical settings; refills of written prescriptions presented at a pharmacy before Oct. 1; prescriptions transmitted to a pharmacy via e-mail, fax machine, or telephone; and prescriptions paid for by a managed-care entity.

“To the extent permissible under state and federal law and regulation, our guidance does not restrict emergency fills of non-controlled or controlled dangerous substances for which a prescriber provides the pharmacy with a verbal, faxed, electronic, or compliant written prescription within 72 hours after the date on which the prescription was filled,” said Dennis G. Smith, director, CMS Center for Medicaid and State Operations, in an Aug. 17 letter to state Medicaid program directors.

CMS will consider a prescription pad to be tamper-resistant if it contains at least one of these characteristics:
• One or more industry-recognized features designed to prevent unauthorized copying of a completed or blank prescription form.
• One or more industry-recognized features designed to prevent the erasure or modification of information written on the prescription by the prescriber.
• One or more industry-recognized features designed to prevent the use of counterfeit prescription forms.

By Oct. 1, 2008, CMS will require that prescription pads contain all of these characteristics for Medicaid payment to occur.