Starting Oct. 6, new regulations issued by the Drug Enforcement Agency will change the classification of hydrocodone combination products from Schedule III to Schedule II. Hydrocodone combinations will be subject to the same prescribing restrictions as other Schedule II controlled substances, such as fentanyl, morphine and oxycodone. This change will have a significant effect on hydrocodone prescription refills.
Be prepared to work with pharmacists to supply new prescriptions:
- Refills will be valid only if the original prescription was written before Oct. 6 and is filled before April 8, 2015. However, some pharmacy-dispensing software products will not be able to process existing refills starting on Oct. 6.
- Prescriptions for hydrocodone products issued on Oct. 6 or later must comply with Schedule II regulations, which means no refills and no over-the-phone or fax submissions (except in rare situations). Electronic transmission of prescriptions is valid in some states.
The new regulation will not affect Providence Health Plan benefits or the claims processing system. If you have questions, contact the PHP pharmacy department at 503-574-7400 or 877-216-3644.