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Prescription Refills

Pharmacy technician students need to know the basic federal prescription refill limitations**. On a prescription order, there may be refills authorized by the prescriber. Pharmacy Techs must be familiar with what the federal guidelines are in order to prepare for the PTCB or ExCPT exam. In many states, the laws for controlled substance orders are more strict. However, these basic federal standards are what you might expect to see on the national exam.

Refill Guidelines



Max # of Refills

No Refills*

Time Limit To Fill

No Expiration*

C-III  ~  C-V

Up To 5 Refills*

Within 6 Months*

(Rx Only)

Up to 12 Months of medication

Within 12 Months

  *Per Dept. of Justice - Controlled Substances Act - Title 21 U.S. Code § 829

Prescription Refill - Add'l details

  • There is no expiration for C-II scripts in the CSA, However, each state may have stricter guidelines.
  • C-III, C-IV and C-V may have up to 5 refills if authorized. But, if the patient requests or accepts a partial fill, the remainder of drugs in that fills is forfeited.
  • The start date of the time limit is the date the script was written, not the date presented for fill.
  • Additional requirements for refills may be imposed by the patients insurance provider.

For the purpose of studying for the national exam, this is probably enough to know about prescription refills. There are more laws regarding the filling and refilling of scripts, and various scenarios covered in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Depending on where you'll be working as a technician, you may need to know more about possible emergency situations, electronic script transmitting, or third party insurance requirements.

**This list of pharmacy prescription refill guidelines is designed to cover the basic knowledge you will probably need to know to answer questions during the national exam. Similar to the rest of this site, this list is mostly a quick reference of the prescription refill guidelines to study for the PTCB or ExCPT exams, and not to be referenced for actual patient care or service.

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