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California Pharmacy Law Updates That Start in 2023 and 2024

As we roll into the new year, we want to highlight some of the pharmaceutical law updates that will be starting on January 1st of 2023 in California and a few that will start in 2024. These are only a couple of the changes on the horizon; to see all of the changes click here.

Electronic Prescriptions – 688

In January 2022, it became required that a pharmacy, pharmacist, or other practitioner
authorized under California law had to have the capability to receive prescriptions via electronic prescription software. Starting January 1, 2023, those persons can not refuse to fill a prescription based solely on the fact that a prescription wasn’t submitted via—or compatible with—their proprietary software. They are, however, authorized to decline to fill a prescription if one of the following points is not met:

  • the prescription adheres to the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs SCRIPT standard, as modified from time to time
  • it complies with the prescription content requirements set forth in Section 4040
    for a controlled substance prescription, the prescription complies with Parts 1300, 1304, 1306, and 1311 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as amended from time to time
  • it complies with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, or the security and confidentiality requirements prescribed to by the pharmacy, pharmacist, or other practitioner authorized pursuant to Section 4040

FDA Approved Opioid Antagonist – 4052.01

Section 4052.01 was amended to state that pharmacists are allowed to furnish opioid antagonists approved by the FDA. Previously, only naloxone hydrochloride was stated.

Cultural Competency – 4231

Section 4231 has been added to include a cultural competency course to the list of courses required to renew a pharmacist license starting on January 1, 2024. When a pharmacist is renewing their license, within their 30 hours of continued pharmacy education, there must be at least one hour of a cultural competency course during the two years preceding the license renewal. This type of course will focus on topics such as:

  • patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender nonconforming, or queer, or who question their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression
  • recognized health disparities faced by Black, Indigenous, and people of color
  • elements demonstrating how sexual identity is directly impacted through intersectionality

The course must be approved by an accreditation agency approved by the California State Board of Pharmacy.

Mobile Unit to Dispense Prescriptions – 4110.5

The addition of section 4110.5 will allow for a county, city/county, or special hospital authority to operate a mobile unit to give prescription medications to people in its jurisdiction ​​without fixed addresses, those individuals living in county-owned/city-and-county-owned housing facilities, and those enrolled in Medi-Cal plans (under certain conditions).

Speak to Pharmaceutical Law Attorney

The 2023 updates to the California pharmacy laws are extensive and complex. In addition to the changes outlined here, there are several more, each with its own specific legal outlines, context, and limitations. For a full understanding of the changes and how they might affect you or your practice, you should speak to an attorney in the field.

Whether you are currently in need of legal defense, seeking a precautionary plan, or just looking to understand the law that you operate under, Fenton Jurkowitz Law Group can help with the next steps. For more information on how your organization can benefit from hiring a Pharmaceutical Law attorney, fill out our online contact form today.