As an update to our January 9, 2017 alert, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has continued with its efforts to make Alprazolam a Schedule II drug, along with rescheduling all other benzodiazepines from Schedule IV to Schedule III. The rule change would also reschedule pregabalin from Schedule V to Schedule IV and reschedule zolpidem from Schedule IV to Schedule III.
The proposed rule was passed by the State Committee of Public Health and is currently scheduled to be effective on June 15, 2017, but please don't change your systems yet. We reached out to the Pharmacy Director at the ADPH, who informed us there is a possibility that either the effective date will be pushed back, or that the rule change will not take place at all. Because the rule change has not yet undergone legislative review, it is possible that the committee could vote against the rule, send it back to the state committee for reconsideration, or change the effective date. For this reason, the ADPH has stated that it will not post any notices about the rule change until they are absolutely certain that it will take place.
The Alabama Board of Pharmacy is not thrilled with the proposed change. It sent a message to Alabama-licensed pharmacists notifying them that the Board of Pharmacy was not notified of the proposal or the meeting during which public comment was accepted, and that the extensive comments it provided to the ADPH did not affect the Committee's final decision. The Board has asked for pharmacists to reach out to members of the legislative review committee to share their concerns about rescheduling Xanax.