Drug Control Laws Effective as of January 1, 2021

Continuing the efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in South Carolina, the Governor signed H.3728 into law on May 16, 2019, with an effective date of January 1, 2021. Highlights from this law are listed below, and more information on the e-prescribing and opioid antidote administration reporting requirements are contained on this page.

  • Healthcare facilities are required to report opioid antidote administrations to DHEC in accordance with Section 44-130-80.
  • First responders are required to report opioid antidote administrations to DHEC in accordance with Section 44-130-60.
  • DHEC is required to establish and maintain a program to monitor the administering of opioid antidotes pursuant to Sections 44-130-60 and 44-130-80.
  • Practitioners are required to review a patient’s controlled substance prescription history and opioid antidote administration history, pursuant to Section 44-130-60 or 44-130-80, before issuing a prescription for a Schedule II controlled substance in accordance with Section 44-53-1645(A).
  • Electronic prescription requirements for dispensing are clarified in Section 44-53-360(a), (b), and (d).
  • Practitioners are required to electronically prescribe controlled substances in Schedules II, III, IV, and V in accordance with Section 44-53-360(j).

Mandatory E-Prescribing Law

Act 65 of 2019 added Section 44-53-360(j) to the South Carolina Controlled Substances Act (Title 44, Chapter 53 of the South Carolina Code of Laws) that requires practitioners to electronically prescribe controlled substances, unless they fall under one of the exemptions.

The mandatory e-prescribing law is effective as of January 1, 2021, and is provided below. Practitioners with questions about whether they fall under one of the exemptions should consult their attorney.

Mandatory E-Prescribing Law

Section 44-53-360(j) of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 201 of 2018, states, in part:
(5)(A) Unless otherwise exempted by this subsection, a practitioner shall electronically prescribe any controlled substance included in Schedules II, III, IV, and V. This subsection does not apply to prescriptions for a controlled substance included in Schedules II through V issued by any of the following:

(i) a practitioner, other than a pharmacist, who dispenses directly to the ultimate user;

(ii) a practitioner who orders a controlled substance included in Schedules II through V to be administered in a hospital, nursing home, hospice facility, outpatient dialysis facility, or residential care facility;

(iii) a practitioner who experiences temporary technological or electrical failure or other extenuating technical circumstances that prevent a prescription from being transmitted electronically; however, the practitioner must document the reason for this exception in the patient's medical record;

(iv) a practitioner who writes a prescription for a controlled substance included in Schedules II through V to be dispensed by a pharmacy located on federal property; however, the practitioner must document the reason for this exception in the patient's medical record;

(v) a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine pursuant to Chapter 69, Title 40; or

(vi) a practitioner who writes a prescription for a controlled substance included in Schedules II through V for a patient who is being discharged from a hospital, emergency department, or urgent care.

(B) A prescription for a controlled substance included in Schedules II, III, IV, and V that includes elements that are not supported by the most recently implemented version of the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs Prescriber/Pharmacist Interface SCRIPT Standard is exempt from this subsection.

(C) A dispenser is not required to verify that a practitioner properly falls under one of the exceptions specified in subsection (A) or (B) before dispensing a controlled substance included in Schedules II through V. A dispenser may continue to dispense a controlled substance included in Schedules II through V from valid written, oral, faxed, or electronic prescriptions that are otherwise consistent with applicable laws.

(D) A dispenser is immune from any civil or criminal liability or disciplinary action from the State Board of Pharmacy for dispensing a prescription written by a prescriber that is in violation of this subsection.

Additional information, including software requirements, is available in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s electronic prescriptions for controlled substances rule  and FAQs.

Opioid Antidote Administration Reporting Law

Act 65 of 2019 added Section 44-130-80 to the South Carolina Overdose Prevention Act (Title 44, Chapter 130 of the South Carolina Code of Laws) that requires opioid antidote administrations by hospital emergency departments and other healthcare facilities to be reported to DHEC.

The opioid antidote administration reporting law is effective as of January 1, 2021, and is provided below. A user guide for healthcare facilities subject to these requirements is available from DHEC’s PMP vendor here.

Opioid Antidote Administration Reporting Law

Section 44-130-80 of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 201 of 2018, states:
 
(A)    If a person is administered an opioid antidote in a hospital emergency department or other health care facility and the supervising physician diagnoses the patient as having experienced an opioid overdose, the health care facility, as defined in Section 44-7-130, shall report to the department's Bureau of Drug Control information regarding the opioid antidote administered for inclusion in the prescription monitoring program. The information submitted must include:

(1)    date the opioid antidote was administered; and

(2)    name, address, and date of birth of the person to whom the opioid antidote was administered.

(B)    The health care facility, as defined in Section 44-7-130, shall submit the information required pursuant to subsection (A) electronically or by facsimile to Drug Control within thirty days after a discharge diagnosis of an opioid overdose and administration of an opioid antidote.

(C)(1)    After a health care facility, as defined in Section 44-7-130, submits the name, address, and date of birth of a person to whom an opioid antidote was administered as required by subsection (A), Drug Control shall verify whether any prescription history of the person appears in the prescription monitoring program and, if prescription history exists, shall document for review by a practitioner or an authorized delegate the date on which the opioid antidote was administered to the person.

(2)    Drug Control also shall maintain data on the administering of opioid antidotes as required by this section including, but not limited to, the frequency with which opioid antidotes are administered in hospital emergency departments as required pursuant to subsection (A) and other health care facilities by geographic location.

DISCLAIMER: This webpage and its contents do not constitute the provision of legal advice.

 

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