State News : Texas

NWCDN is a network of law firms dedicated to protecting employers in workers’ compensation claims.

NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.  

Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.

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The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reclassified hydrocodone combination

drugs from Schedule III to Schedule II in the Schedule of Controlled Substances, effective

October 6, 2014. This reclassification change impacts all physicians and pharmacies, including

drugs prescribed and dispensed in the Texas workers’ compensation system. Hydrocodone

combinations are the most frequently prescribed drugs in the Texas workers’ compensation


This change has no direct impact on the application of DWC’s pharmacy closed formulary.

However, prescriptions for Schedule II drugs have specific requirements, and the

reclassification will result in changes to the physician prescription process for hydrocodone

combinations. For example, physicians may not delegate to advance practice nurses and

physician assistant’s authority to prescribe these drugs outside of a hospital or hospice setting,

nor may they “call in” prescriptions for these medications to pharmacies (except in

emergencies, in which case oral transmission must be followed up with written prescription

within seven days). In addition, physicians must use official prescription pads from the Texas

Department of Public Safety (DPS) for written prescriptions; or if e‐prescribing, must use a

certified Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) vendor. Most significantly in

our context, physicians may not refill prescriptions of these drugs without a patient visit or

consultation, and prescriptions may be issued for a maximum 90‐day period (three 30‐day

prescriptions to be written at one time). Refills are to be filled on a “not before date” written

on the prescription note by the prescriber. Claimants and pharmacies are encouraged to work

with the physician to resolve any issues regarding these changes when prescribing or

attempting to fill prescriptions for hydrocodone combinations.

Takeaway: Hydrocodone medications will become triple‐script medications, and an injured

worker will have to have a doctor’s office visit to get the script.