DEA Sch. II Prescription Order Expiration time

by Darcy
(Burlington, KY)

I read in an older PTCB exam prep book that an Rx written for Category II drug had to be filled within 3 days, or it was no longer valid. True or False?

This site says 6 months.

Reply (by Keith)
This is a good question.
The real answer is, there is no answer on a federal level.
And because of that, I decided to place Sch II with the rest of them (sch. III-V).

I encourage you to look at the law and decide for yourself.
Go to the DOJ site where the CSA is at using this

Click on the link for the
"Latest Controlled Substances Act"

and then hit (Ctrl + F) and search for
"Sec. 829. Prescriptions"

Under Sch. II, there is no real definition for the timeliness of when a script expires. There is a clear cut definition for the rest of them. It's actually kind of interesting that they would forget that for Sch. II.

How it works

Even though the Federal Law is this way,
(and you'll want to
only use the Federal Laws for the PTCB and ExCPT exams) State laws fill in the gap for this. When I asked a friend who is a Pharmacist how to explain it, he answered with

"It depends on what the board of pharmacy decides in your state. In FL it's 6 months, I believe, and here in AZ its 3 months...unless it is partialed for a skilled nursing facility (SNF)"

And another friend who's been a tech for many years said,

"Currently Georgia law does not address an expiration date for Schedule II prescriptions. There is also no federal time limit within which a Schedule II prescription must be filled. Yet, prescriptions written for Schedule III, IV, and V are valid for 6 months from the date written."

Another Possibility

A fan on our
facebook page brought to my attention that you may have mistaken what was being presented for a different law. There is a DEA Law that states that if the Rx is only partially filled then the pharmacists has to note the partial fill and fill the remaining within 72 hours (3 days). If it's not filled within that time, it expires. This could happen if the Pharmacy is temporarily out of stock, or if the Patient cannot afford the whole fill at one time.

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