Tighter controls on pill refills

ALBANY (AP) – New York has set tighter restrictions on the popular painkiller hydrocodone, now prohibiting automatic refills.

The reclassification, part of the law passed last year that will require doctors to issue drug prescriptions electronically, is intended to help curb the black market fueled by painkiller addictions and doctor shopping.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who pushed for the law, has sent an open letter to doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals to remind them that hydrocodone is now a Schedule II controlled substance under New York law, like the painkiller oxycodone.

Popular brands include Vicodin, Lortab and Tussionex.

State authorities say the restrictions apply to all products containing hydrocodone, including combinations with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.