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Pharmacist FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for Pharmacists on Schedule III Controlled Substances:


Q: Do prescription orders or prescription documents have an expiration date?

A: Federal regulations provide that prescriptions for drugs in Schedules III and IV shall not be filled or refilled more than 6 months after the date of issue. State law (that went into effect on October 1, 2013) provides that "No Schedule II substance shall be dispensed pursuant to a written prescription more than six months after the date it was prescribed." The new six-month limitation applies to all prescriptions issued on or after October 1, 2013.

Board rule provides that a pharmacist can refuse to fill or refill a prescription if they believe it is harmful to the patient, not in the patient’s best interest or there is a question as to its validity.


Q: What is the procedure in North Carolina for physicians when ordering Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances for office use?

A: The physician needs to complete a Schedule II Order form (DEA 222) for a drug in Schedule II and send it to the supplier which can be a pharmacy. The supplier keeps one copy and send the other copy to DEA. Note the instructions in the margin of the form.

Orders for drugs in Schedule III or IV can occur on an invoice and the supplier (pharmacy) keeps these invoices with other CS records noting that these are outgoing items.

These transactions should not occur pursuant to a prescription because prescriptions need to be patient specific.


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