Hydrocodone Combination Products (HCP) changing from Schedule III to Schedule II

October 10, 2014

The Drug Enforcement Agency issued a final rule (79 FR 49661) in which they changed hydrocodone-containing medications from schedule III to schedule II beginning Oct. 6, 2014. Hydrocodone-containing products will now be in the same schedule as morphine, oxycodone and hydromorphone. As a schedule II medication, no refills will be allowed. This change applies to such medications as Vicodin and Norco. Although the DEA allows for refills on active hydrocodone prescriptions up to April 8, 2015, many pharmacy computer systems do not have the capability to allow refills for now a schedule II medication after Oct. 6.

Providers should evaluate whether patients need to continue on this medication. If so, providers will need to write a new prescription after Oct. 6 to avoid member disruption at the pharmacy. PHP is sending a bulletin to all of our contracted network pharmacies and our provider network as a reminder that this is occurring. No communication will be sent to members as the retail pharmacies and providers are actively working with members.

Any additional questions providers, members or pharmacies may have should be directed to the pharmacy department at 503-574-7400.