Electronic Prescribing Requirement


Do you prescribe controlled substances? As of Jan. 1, 2022, you are required to electronically transmit prescriptions for controlled substances Schedules II-V and refills for Schedules III-V or file a waiver with the Department of Health (department).


Substitute Senate Bill 5380, passed during the 2019 legislative session, mandated all controlled substances be electronically prescribed beginning Jan. 1, 2021. The law directed the department to develop a waiver process in which practitioners may attest to the need for a waiver if they have an economic hardship, technological limitation, or other exceptional circumstance that prevents them from complying with the mandate.


The Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission and the department adopted rules to meet the legislative directive by providing practitioners criteria to attest to the need for a waiver from the electronic prescribing mandate using the department's process. For more information or questions on the e-prescribing requirement and the secretary of health’s waiver, please contact PharmacyRules@doh.wa.gov.


Because the COVID-19 pandemic has taken an unprecedented toll on Washington’s health care system over the last several months, the secretary of health is exercising his authority under RCW 69.50.312(3) to grant a waiver to all health care providers authorized to prescribe controlled substances and subject to RCW 69.50.312(1) from complying with the e-prescribing requirements of RCW 69.50.312(1).


This secretary’s waiver will expire on Jan. 1, 2022. At that time, all health care providers prescribing controlled substances must either comply with RCW 69.50.312(1) or meet at least one of the exemption criteria in RCW 69.50.312(2) and file a waiver with the department.