News

New Controlled Substance Prescribing Rules

Effective on January 4.

  • There were three important changes to the rules; perhaps most notable of which is the identification of exceptions to the “bona fide prescriber-patient relationship” requirement in MCL 333.7303a.

Rule 338.3161a – Prescribers must be in a “bona fide prescriber-patient relationship” before prescribing a controlled substance listed in schedules 2 to 5. Exceptions allowing a prescriber to prescribe a controlled substance listed in schedules 2 to 5 without first establishing a bona fide prescriber-patient relationship are recognized in the following circumstances: 

  • When a prescriber is providing on-call coverage or cross-coverage for another prescriber who is not available and has established a bona fide prescriber-patient relationship with the patient, as long as the prescriber or an individual licensed under article 15 of the act, reviews the patient’s relevant medical or clinical records, medical history, and any change in medical condition, and provides documentation in the patient’s medical record.
  • When the prescriber is following or modifying the orders of a prescriber who has established a bona fide prescriber-patient relationship with a hospital in-patient, hospice patient, or nursing care facility resident and provides documentation in the patient’s medical record.
  • When the prescriber is prescribing for a patient that has been admitted to a licensed nursing care facility or a hospice and completes the tasks required in subrule (2)(a) and (2)(b) in accordance with the nursing care facility or hospice admitting rules and provides documentation in the patient’s medical record.
  • When the prescriber is prescribing for a patient, and the tasks required in subrule (2)(a) and (2)(b) are complied with by an individual licensed under article 15 of the Public Health Code and the prescriber provides documentation in the patient’s medical record.
  • When the prescriber is treating a patient in a medical emergency, as defined in the rule.

In addition, prescribers need to be aware of two other important changes as follows:

Rule 338.3125 - Gabapentin has been added to the schedule 5 drug list as a controlled substance. As a result of this change, any prescribers prescribing gabapentin must be registered with the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS). Prescribers must also obtain and review the patient’s MAPS report if prescribing a quantity that exceeds a 3-day supply, unless dispensed and administered to a patient within a hospital or freestanding surgical outpatient facility.


Rule 338.3135 - Licensees applying for or holding a controlled substance license, as well as delegates who prescribe, administer, or dispense on behalf of a licensee, will be required to complete a one-time opioid and other controlled substances awareness training. This requirement does not take effect until September 1, 2019, for initial licenses and the first renewal cycle after the promulgation of this rule for controlled substance license renewals. More details will be forthcoming from the MSMS Education Department as the compliance deadline nears.


A complete copy of the new Pharmacy – Controlled Substances Rule Set is available from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Please contact Stacey Hettiger, MSMS Director of Medical and Regulatory Policy, at 517-336-5766 for additional guidance.