Can Your Doctor Tell If You Filled Your Controlled Prescription?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not your doctor can find out if you filled your controlled substance prescription at a pharmacy.

Question

I was discharged from pain management recently. Before that happened the NP gave me two written scripts for oxycodone 10/325. The first I was able to fill that day. The second one cannot be filled until next week. However, their office said that script is no longer valid. I understand that they probably called my pharmacy to inform of this but does it mean that I cannot take it to a different pharmacy to fill it? Is that (doctor cancelling the script) info that any pharmacy can see?

Asked by Nichel72 On Jun 22, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jun 25, 2018

Doctor Writing controlled substanceIf your doctor cancelled a written prescription for a controlled substance (oxycodone 10/325 in this case), a pharmacy outside your usual chain (e.g. Walgreens) will not be able to tell that the prescription was cancelled as pharmacy systems don't link outside a specific chain.


This is different from an electronic prescription. If your doctor wrote your prescription electronically, which was then sent to a pharmacy, they have the capability of canceling the prescription, even after it was sent.


Since you have a written prescription, a pharmacy would have no way of knowing that it has been cancelled by the doctor. However, it is not a good idea to fill a written prescription you know your doctor cancelled as they will eventually find out that you filled it due to prescription monitoring systems that are in place in every state in the United States.


In addition, if the pharmacy calls your doctor to verify the prescription for whatever reason (such as questioning the recent fill of oxycodone you received), they are likely to be notified the prescription is cancelled.


Prescription Monitoring Programs

Doctor on computer

All 50 states have some sort of prescription drug monitoring program in place. These are referred to as either:

  • Prescription Monitoring Programs
  • Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs


With these programs, electronic databases have been created that store, among other things, the controlled substance prescription fill history of every individual in the state. Authorized health care professionals and law enforcement can access these systems, with the purpose being to reduce prescription drug abuse and diversion.


Specific laws vary by state but pharmacists and prescribers are often legally required to report controlled substances they dispense to their state monitoring program. In addition, most states require doctors writing controlled substance prescriptions to check the database before writing a prescription.


In most cases, individual patients cannot directly access the data stored in these databases but may instead be required to submit a request to the program for their information. 


Going back to your situation, if you fill your prescription for oxycodone 10/325, it will be recorded and stored in your State's database, which can (and most likely will) be accessed by your next doctor, your prior doctor and your pharmacy. It will eventually be found out that you filled the script your doctor cancelled.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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