Arizona Delays E-Prescribing Mandate

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Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2075 into law on February 14th, 2019.  This bill amends and addresses issues with the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act (HB 1001) that was signed into law on January 26th of 2018.  In an effort to combat opioid abuse, the law mandates that prescribers electronically prescribe schedule II controlled substances. The original deadlines were January 1, 2019 for prescribers in counties with populations more than 150,000 and July 1, 2019 for prescribers in rural counties with less than 150,000. However, there were several concerns that the original law was passed rather quickly and significant changes have been made to the policy in the latest bill.

The Arizona State Board of Pharmacy1 lists the major provisions to HB 1001 as:

  • Moves the 2019 implementation dates for urban and rural counties to January 1, 2020 for all counties.
  • Allows for written prescriptions if the e-prescribing system is not operational or available in a timely manner, the occurrence must be noted in records maintained by the pharmacy for a period of time set by the Arizona Board of Pharmacy.
  • Exempts requirements for Indian Health Services and federal facilities.
  • Eliminates the waiver process through the Arizona Board of Pharmacy but provides rulemaking authority in consultation with a Task Force to add additional exceptions.
  • Delays e-prescribing requirements for veterinarians until e-prescribing software is widely available.
  • Allow for prescriptions to be faxed if the prescription is compounded for direct administration to a patient, residents of a long-term care facility and hospice patients.
  • Resolves a statutory conflict that inadvertently imposed a prohibition on physician assistants prescribing more than a 72-hour dosage of opioids or benzodiazepines.
  • Contains a retroactive clause to December 31, 2018 so the legislation takes effect immediately once it becomes law.

Over 40,000 healthcare providers2 in Arizona applied for a waiver to exempt themselves from the requirement to e-prescribe.  The waivers were granted to those who lacked adequate internet access or faced other hardships restricting their access to use e-prescribing software.  With the passing of HB 2075, on January 1st 2020 almost all providers in the state of Arizona will need a method of e-prescribing controlled substances per the law as there will not be a waiver process. 

While the deadline has been extended for providers to adopt e-prescribing in Arizona, MDToolbox encourages prescribers not to wait. The advantages of e-prescribing are countless and it’s been proven to be an important tool for preventing opioid abuse. Contact us today for a demo or free trial to see just how easy it is!




Arizona to Require E-Prescribing to Fight Opioid Abuse

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Last week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey called a special legislative session to pass the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act1. In record speed, the Arizona Legislature voted unanimously to approve it and Ducey signed it into law on Friday.

The act is aimed at combating the opioid epidemic in Arizona, where in just the last 6 months there have been more than 800 opioid-related deaths. The focus of the act is to reduce opioid misuse, promote safe prescribing and dispensing, and improve access to treatment.

As stated in the Governor’s news release outlining the act, the policy includes:

  • Identifying gaps in and improving access to treatment, including for uninsured or underinsured Arizonans, with a new $10 million investment;
  • Expanding access to the overdose reversal drug Naloxone for law enforcement or corrections officers currently not authorized to administer it;
  • Holding bad actors accountable by ending pill mills, increasing oversight mechanisms, and enacting criminal penalties for manufacturers who defraud the public about their products;
  • Enhancing continuing medical education for all professions that prescribe or dispense opioids;
  • Enacting a Good Samaritan law to allow people to call 911 for a potential opioid overdose;
  • Cracking down on forged prescriptions by requiring e-prescribing;
  • Requiring all pharmacists to check the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program prior to dispensing an opioid or benzodiazepine;
  • And limiting the first-fill of an opioid prescription to five days for all opioid naïve patients and limiting dosage levels to align with federal prescribing guidelines. These proposals contain important exemptions to protect chronic pain suffers, cancer, trauma or burn patients, hospice or end-of-life patients, and those receiving medication assisted treatment for substance use disorder.

The e-Prescribing requirement will begin January 1, 2019 and mandates schedule II controlled substances must be sent electronically. There is some concern that those in rural areas do not have the necessary technology for e-Prescribing. Therefore, the act gives those providers additional time and outlines that e-Prescribing will not be mandated until July 1, 2019 for counties with less than 150,000. It also allows for the Board of Pharmacy to grant waivers to prescribers with a lack of broadband Internet access or other hardships.

At MDToolbox, we urge providers not to wait until the mandate and to e-Prescribe all prescriptions. In addition to preventing forged prescriptions and helping combat opioid abuse, e-Prescribing provides many other benefits for providers and patients. Contact us to get started with a free trial today.


1.       Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act Policy Primer