On September 10, 2018, Governor Brown signed AB 2760 into law.  The bill adds Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Sections 740, 741, and 742 to the “Healing Arts” division of the California Business and Professions Code.

Under the new Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 741, prescribers are required to offer a prescription for naloxone HCL or another drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the complete or partial reversal of opioid depression to a patient when one or more of the following conditions are present:

  1. the prescription dosage for the patient is 90 or more morphine milligram equivalents of an opioid medication per day;
  2. an opioid medication is prescribed concurrently with a prescription for benzodiazepine; or
  3. the patient presents with an increased risk for overdose.

Section 741(a)(1)(C) offers some examples of scenarios that would indicate an increased risk of overdose, including:

— a patient with a history of overdose;
— a patient with a history of substance use disorder; or
— a patient at risk for returning to a high dose of opioid medication to which the patient is no longer tolerant.

Additionally, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 741 requires prescribers to educate those patients – and additional persons designated by each patient – on overdose prevention and the use of naloxone HCL (or similar medication) prescribed for reversal of opioid overdose.

The bill also adds Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 742, which states that any prescriber who fails to abide by the prescription or education requirements of § 741 “shall be referred to the appropriate licensing board… for the imposition of administrative sanctions deemed appropriate by that board.”

The Medical Board of California, which voiced its support of AB 2760 back in August, is set to discuss an implementation plan for enforcement of the new requirements in its October meeting.  An updated analysis, including the Board’s implementation plan, will be posted on the Board’s website prior to the October meeting.  A legislative analysis from the Board’s July 2018 meeting may be found here.

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— David Price
Compliance Counsel, PRIUM

David Price is Compliance Counsel for PRIUM, a division of Genex Services.  Mr. Price leads PRIUM’s Litigation Support program — working with payers and their defense counsel to maximize strategic benefit from cost-containment efforts in complex or highly-litigated claims.  Mr. Price also serves as PRIUM’s Government Affairs Agent and acts as a direct liaison to state regulators across the country.  Mr. Price regularly speaks on issues such as medical cost containment, formulary implementation, combined vendor/cross-vendor strategies, and litigation management in workers’ compensation claims. 

The information in this article is not intended to serve as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.  For legal advice concerning workers’ compensation claims in a particular state, please contact an appropriately-licensed attorney in that state.