Dispense As Written Codes Explained

Dispense as Written Codes are a vital part of dispensing prescriptions in a pharmacy.

These are simple, one or two digit codes that provide information to the pharmacist. The DAW codes are as follows:

0 = No product selection indicated.

This is the same as a blank, it just means there are no special instructions.

It is used when there are no special product selection instructions required, such as when there is only one available product of this type.

DAW 0 is the most commonly used code; it is used when the generic is used in place of a brand name product.

1 = Brand product is 'medically necessary' and therefore no substitution is allowed by the prescriber.

This would be used when a brand name drug has consistently received better results than a generic version and so a specific brand name version is deemed required.

This must be dispensed exactly as written.

2 = Substitution allowed- patient requested product dispensed.

This means the patient chose the specific brand being dispensed.

This is used when generic substitution is allowed, but the patient wants the brand name version.

3 = Substitution allowed- pharmacist selected product dispensed.

This means the pharmacist chose which brand of a drug to provide, even though a generic product option is available.

4 = Substitution allowed- generic drug not in stock.

This means a brand name was dispensed instead of a generic version, because the generics were all out of stock.

5 = Substitution allowed- Brand dispensed as pharmacy's generic.

This means that the pharmacy used a "Branded Generic."

This happens when the generic isn't stocked by the pharmacy and they use a brand name instead.

6 = Override DAW Code. This is the all-purpose override code and is used whenever an override is needed.

7 = Brand mandated by state law.

This code means that the brand name must be dispensed due to state law.

Other versions may not have passed state testing, for example. This requires that the brand version of the product is dispensed.

8 = Generic Product not available in the market place. The brand product is dispensed since the generic is not currently manufactured, distributed, or is temporarily unavailable. 

"This happens sometimes where there is a shortage or the generic is recently approved but the manufacturer is not up to speed yet." (*Webmaster note: Thank you to the anonymous registered pharmacist from Minneapolis, MN who emailed in to correct this.)

This could be due to a legal or license reason.

9 = Other. Another all-purpose code used whenever an existing code doesn't accurately describe the note required.

These dispense as written codes were developed to help create a standard method of noting why a pharmacist used or didn't use a certain brand name or generic drug.

With similar drugs being widely available from multiple wholesaler companies and sources, proper use of these codes helps maintain a level of transparency about why one version of a drug is being used over another.

These also help medical insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers organize claims and determine prescription coverage.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Can a PharmTech Write "DAW #1" on an Rx? 
If a DAW code is called in by the MD or Patient, does it require documentation by the RPh or is a Tech allowed to write it on the prescription?

In Tennesse, If a doctor calls in an rx and states DAW 1, do they have to escribe/fax in stating that? 
IN TENNESSE IF A PHYSICIANS OFFICE CALLS IN A PRESCRIPTION AND STATES DISPENSE BRAND ONLY CAN THE PHARMACIST WRITE BRAND NECESSARY OR DISPENSE AS WRITTEN? …

Dr. to Write "Dispense As Written" on Rx 
Why doses Medicaid require "dispense as written" on the prescription for a generic medication? I sent a patient out with a prescription for a …

Why Is It Important To Have The Correct DAW Code Entered? Who assigns DAW Codes? 
At what point are DAW codes assigned to a Prescription? And who assigns DAW codes?

Pharmacy Technology Instructor 
I have conflicting information in regards to the DAW Code 0 and students are preparing for The PTCB. Please reiterate for me.

DNS 
What does DNS mean?

Brand Medically Necessary 
Concerning e-prescribed rxs...can we accept them for Brand medically necessary or does he doctor have to present the patient with a written prescription?? …

Do Some Generics Have Different Side Effects Than Others?  Not rated yet
My MD writes my hydrocodone/APAP as Norco. My pharmacy gives me generic hydrocodone/APAP, it seems some generic brands are better than others. Last generic …

What DAW code number is best when the patients insurance prefers a brand name medication? Not rated yet
Which DAW # should I use when the patient's insurance company prefers a brand name medication?

Physician: Why does Medicare Part B require "Dispense As Written" on a prescription for a generic medication? Not rated yet
Why does Medicare (Part B) require "dispense as written" on the prescription for a generic medication? I sent a patient out with a prescription …

DAW 9 is indicated "Brand Required by Plan" at Workplace in TEXAS Not rated yet
DAW 9 in my workplace is indicated "brand required by plan" for instance, Texas Medicaid only covers brand name bromfed dm, even though the generic is …

Mr. Charles H. Karr Not rated yet
My doctor ordered my Synthroid as "brand name only" since Synthroid generics were known to be ineffective for many users, myself included. In 2015, my …

Which DAW do I use (here in CA) for when insurance only covers the Brand Name Med? Not rated yet
I work in retail. I have a prescription, which would normally be filled with the generic. The customer has not requested brand, and the prescriber says …

How does Omitting the DAW affect the insurance company, the pharmacy, and the patient? Not rated yet
How does ignoring DAW comments affect the insurance company. What if the pharmacist by mistake ignores the DAW comment and dispenses generic drug. …

Correction on DAW 8 Not rated yet
Comment: In your explanation of DAW, you have DAW 8 as "Brand product not available on the market". This is the incorrect definition. According to HCPDP …

What Could Happen to the Pharmacy if a Tech Omits the DAW Code? Not rated yet
What are issues that could happen if a tech doesn't enter the DAW codes into the computer system while filling a prescription, and what possible penalties/problems …

If a prescription originally had a DAW #0, and has been refilled several times, can a refill be filled and processed with a DAW 2 Not rated yet
If a prescription originally was with DAW 0 with 4 refills, example Synthroid, can a refill can be processed with DAW 2 even if was originally with the …

Medicaid, Chargebacks, and Geodon DAW 2 Not rated yet
A doctor wrote a script for Geodon but did not specify brand medically necessary. The patient has requested brand and has been on brand for some time. …

brand medically necessary Not rated yet
Our pharmacy is requiring us to fax doctors asking them to prescribe lipitor as "brand medically necessary" so that we will get full reimbursement from …

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What is a Prescription?


What does DNS mean?


What does "Brand Medically Necessary" mean?