New Walgreens Policy for Controlled Substances Prescriptions

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) has heard from members about problems their patients are experiencing with getting pain medication prescriptions filled at Walgreens.  Under its revised policy on good faith dispensing of controlled substances, Walgreens is requesting additional information from practices prior to filling prescriptions for controlled substances.  Requests for additional information include information about the diagnosis, ICD-9 code, expected length of therapy, previous medications tried and failed, and medical reasoning behind dose adjustments.

Walgreens has sent letters to prescribers that provide an overview of this newly revised policy, which appears to be a response to recent investigations and actions by the Drug Enforcement Agency.  The letters indicate that Walgreens will only request additional information for “some, but not most, prescriptions.”  However, the NCMS has heard that this is not the case, and that practices have had to provide additional information for almost all of the controlled substances prescriptions they write.

The NCMS is concerned with issues related to patient privacy, administrative burdens, delays in patients’ receipt of medication, re-diagnosing by pharmacists, and pharmacies acting as quasi-regulatory boards.  The NCMS is working with the American Medical Association (AMA) to support nationwide efforts to mitigate the effects of these policies.  Furthermore, the AMA has indicated that other pharmacies are starting to implement similar policies.

If your practice has received information requests for controlled substances prescriptions from Walgreens or another pharmacy, please notify Varsha Gadani, NCMS Assistant Counsel.


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1 Comment

  • Douglas I Hammer, MD

    I think this is unnecesary and only adds to our paperwork for our requests.Will they deny our rxs based on our reply? This is ludicrous and should be stopped.