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Tougher DEA Hydrocodone Restrictions Went Into Effect on Oct 6--Pain Patients Beware

By Beenthere2Hippie, Oct 8, 2014 | Updated: Oct 8, 2014 | | |
  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    UNITED STATES - The increased restrictions on hydrocodone combination products that go into effect on Monday, October 6, are having a major impact on chronic pain patients seeking their monthly refill on a currently-valid prescription.

    When the Drug Enforcement Agency announced that hydrocodone combination products, or HCPs, would move from Schedule III to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, the 22-page rule allowed for pharmacies to recognize refills authorized on pre-October 6 prescriptions.

    The rule states that those refills were to remain valid through April 8, 2015. But in a clash between DEA intentions, state pharmacy laws, and insurance companies, we have learned that nearly all pharmacies will be requiring a new, written prescription for hydrocodone combination products tomorrow, regardless of whether you have refills remaining on a current prescription.

    If you have refills remaining on your currently-valid HCP prescription, you must get this month’s refill today (Sunday 10/5), or be required to submit a new prescription tomorrow, Monday 10/6. If you are fortunate to have your pharmacy open on Sundays, call ahead to be sure you can get this refill today.

    I spoke earlier this week with DEA spokesperson, Barbara L. Carreno, as to the question of whether currently-remaining refills can indeed be fulfilled on or after October 6. She replied later in an email, saying, “DEA has made provision for legitimate scripts written before the new rule goes into effect on October 6 to be honored until April 8. Again, DEA is no hindrance to that. However, a pharmacy can choose to not honor such a script, perhaps because it wants to start clean with all its record-keeping on October 6 and isn’t willing to make any exceptions. (Schedule II records have to be kept separate from other records. That is one of two things that pharmacies have to do different with Schedule II drugs, the other being that they use a different form to order Schedule II drugs than other drugs. Pharmacies already have these forms, because they use them to order other Schedule II drugs they carry, like Percocet, Adderall and Ritalin.) If a pharmacy chooses to do that, that is the pharmacy’s call, and DEA has no authority to override their business practice.”

    In response to the DEA allowance, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has said, “‘However, state law, insurance limitations and some pharmacy quality and safety operations and processes may not allow for these prescriptions to be refilled. Citing efforts to work with healthcare stakeholders, including prescribers and patient groups, to help prevent any potential disruptions to healthcare delivery, NACDS expressed concern in its comments stating, ‘Most states have not provided clarity with respect to whether such refills will be valid under state law. Moreover, most pharmacies will not be able to process such refills due to existing quality and safety operations and processes; such pharmacy operations and processes cannot be modified in a mere 45-day time frame,” NACDS said in its statement.’”

    I’ve written at length on this so-called upscheduling of hydrocodone combination products. The intent by regulators was to decrease the amount of HCPs available for diversion or abuse – non-medical use of the painkiller. However, many chronic pain patients are being inconvenienced by the rapid and erratically-coordinated implementation of the upscheduling.

    By David Kroll - Forbes, Oct. 6, 2014
    Newhawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Alka_holic
    Re: Tougher DEA Oxycodone Restrictions Went Into Affect on Oct 6--Pain Patients Bewar

    Did I miss something? The title reads tougher oxycodone restrictions by the DEA but I didn't read anything in that regards in the post. I thought going in to this thread that there was going to be something along the lines of tighter restrictions for current schedule 2 meds due to hydrocodone becoming a schedule 2. Anyways, if there was something that I missed please enlighten me because id like to know.
  2. oliverslife
    Re: Tougher DEA Oxycodone Restrictions Went Into Affect on Oct 6--Pain Patients Bewar

    Honestly I think it was just a minor oversight by BT2H because it also says "goes into Affect" - it should be Effect.

    BT2H is having a horrible time right now-her mind is elsewhere poor thing.

  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    Re: Tougher DEA Oxycodone Restrictions Went Into Affect on Oct 6--Pain Patients Bewar

    DF News rules dictate that we not use the same headline given the story in its original format. Those are Alfa's rules. So news story headlines on DF will reflect the flavor of what was/is the original story but will not, word for word, match those of the original headline.
  4. mrs.badger
    Re: Tougher DEA Oxycodone Restrictions Went Into Affect on Oct 6--Pain Patients Bewar

    Was wondering about that too. My mother takes oxy, and there's never been any refills on her scripts.
  5. Beenthere2Hippie
    Re: Tougher DEA Oxycodone Restrictions Went Into Affect on Oct 6--Pain Patients Bewar

    You are absolutely right, Alka_holic. The error of oxycodone instead of hydrocodone was fully mine, and I am very sorry for the mix-up. At first when I read your post I thought you were referring to our policy of changing the wording of headlines from the original instead of my concerning error. I have been burning the midnight oil lately and posting up news stories in vast numbers to keep my mind off of personal issues and mis-read hydro for oxy by mistake. Good thing I'm not a physician, hey?

    Thank you for bringing this serious typo to my attention so I could fix it. Very helpful, indeed.

    *Note: I must also mention that the unfortunate, mis-wording that took place on this thread's headline was not "intentionally misleading," as the below poster's statement suggests in his/her negative rep comment. I would never do such a thing. Anyone who knows me, knows that to be true, and know the level of my love, dedication and respect for this site--as well as my deep, personal commitment to always seek truth in all things.


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