Legislative Update AB 149

Gov. Newsom Signs AB 149 Delaying Implementation of New Requirements for Opioid Prescriptions

CSA continues to be an expert resource on opioid-related policy discussions and we have been working with the California Medical Association to support legislation to ensure patients receive lawful controlled substance prescriptions. It is critical that any new policies do not legislate the practice of medicine, but instead support anesthesiologists in providing the most efficacious and medically necessary pain medicine treatment.   

Last year, AB 1753 authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) was adopted which limited the number of controlled substance prescription pad printers and required serialization of those prescriptions.  There have been technical challenges with compliance of this law since it required certain types of serialized pads that are not yet widely available to physicians. 

CSA is pleased to report that on Monday, March 11, Governor Newsom signed into law AB 149 by Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), which delays implementation of AB 1753. AB 149 gives the state Department of Justice until January 2020 to oversee the secure printing of prescription pads with individualized serial numbers for tracking. The bill also allows prescriptions on pads without the serial numbers to be valid until January 1, 2021. AB 149 has an urgency clause, which means it takes effect immediately.

The CSA supported AB 149 and works to ensure that the voice of anesthesiologists are part of critical policy debates surrounding patient safety and physician-led care. Governor Newsom’s signing message for AB 149 is below:

“To the Members of the California State Assembly: I am signing Assembly Bill 149, which would delay the requirements imposed by AB 1753 (Low, Chapter 479, Statutes of 2018) for prescription forms. When AB 1753 went into effect, a timeline for implementation was not established, which caused confusion and frustration for medical professionals and consumers alike. This bill would impose an implementation timeline for the provisions of AB 1753 and alleviate the confusion faced by patients and prescribers. AB 149 is needed to ensure patients throughout the state continue to receive their prescriptions quickly and easily, while meeting the State's need to aggressively address the opioid crisis.” Sincerely, Gavin Newsom