Don't Let California's Complex Prescription Form Laws Put Your Patients at Risk

Doctors must quickly react to new law governing prescriptions for controlled substances

California has some of the most stringent prescription laws in the country. When a new law was implemented on January 1, 2019 without a transition period, many practices were caught off-guard and received a flurry of calls when pharmacies refused to fulfill prescriptions written on non-compliant forms.

Breaking down California’s 15-point prescription paper security requirements

Patient care is first and foremost on every doctor’s mind. The last thing any healthcare provider wants is for patients to worry about whether or not they’ll receive a prescription when they need it because prescription pads are non-compliant.
The law that took effect at the beginning of the year, Assembly Bill 1753 (Low, Chapter 479), requires all prescription forms for controlled substances to be printed with a unique serialized number. In total, all California prescriptions for controlled substances must meet the following 15-point security requirements:

1. A latent, repetitive “void” pattern across the entire front of the prescription blank. If a prescription is scanned or photocopied, the word “void” shall appear in a pattern across the entire front of the prescription.

2. A watermark on the backside of the prescription blank. The watermark shall consist of the words, “California Security Prescription.”

3. A chemical void protection that prevents alteration by chemical washing.

4. A feature printed in thermochromic ink.

5. An area of opaque writing so that the writing disappears if the prescription is lightened.

6. A description of the security features included on each prescription form.

7a.  Six quantity check off boxes on the form so that the prescriber may indicate quantity by checking the applicable box. The following quantities shall appear:






151 and over.

7b.  In conjunction with the quantity boxes, a space shall be provided to designate the units referenced in the quantity boxes when the drug is not in tablet or capsule form.

8. Prescription blanks shall contain a statement printed on the bottom that states, “Prescription is void if the number of drugs prescribed is not noted.”

9. The preprinted name, category of licensure, license number, federal controlled substance registration number and address of the prescribing practitioner.

10. Check boxes on the form so that the prescriber may indicate the number of refills ordered.

11. The date of origin of the prescription.

12. A check box indicating the prescriber’s order not to substitute.

13. An identifying number assigned to the approved security printer by the Department of Justice.

14. A check box by the name of each prescriber when a prescription form lists multiple prescribers.

15. A unique serialized number.


our secureguard document security experts make certain you meet every requirement

Your job is to look after your patients. Our job to ensure that your prescription forms are compliant — meeting all the new and existing requirements set out by the state of California. Micro Format, Inc. the manufacturer of SecureGuard prescription papers, is an approved state vendor licensed by the Department of Justice through the California Security Prescription Printers Program. For more information on this new law or any of our products, please contact one of our Document Security Experts at [email protected] or toll-free at 1-800-333-0549.