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In-Person Visits For Some Drug Prescriptions Are Required Over Telehealth Prescriptions

Article

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced proposed permanent rules for the prescribing of controlled medications through telemedicine with new appropriate safeguards.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced proposed permanent rules for the prescribing of controlled medications through telemedicine with new appropriate safeguards.

These rules — developed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Verterans Affairs — are expanding patient access to critical therapies beyond the scheduled end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

In specific, doctors would be recquired to evaluate patients in person before writing prescriptions for some controlled medications and meeting them through a telemedicine consultation.

For these types of consultations, the proposed telemedicine rules would allow medical practitioners to prescribe a 30-day supply of Schedule III-V non-narcotic controlled medication and a 30-day supply of buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder without an in-person evaluation or referral from a medical practitioner that has conducted an in-person evaluation, as long as the prescription is otherwise consistent with any applicable Federal and State laws.

The public has 30 days to review and comment on the proposals, which DEA will then consider before drafting final regulations.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a release, the permanent expansion of telemedicine flexibilities would continue greater access to care for patients across the country, while ensuring the safety of patients.

"DEA is committed to the expansion of telemedicine with guardrails that prevent the online overprescribing of controlled medications that can cause harm," Milgram added.

The proposed telemedicine rules also further DEA’s goal of expanding access to medication for opioid use disorder to anyone in the country who needs it, the DEA release said.

“Medication for opioid use disorder helps those who are fighting to overcome substance use disorder by helping people achieve and sustain recovery, and also prevent drug poisonings,” said Milgram. “The telemedicine regulations would continue to expand access to buprenorphine for patients with opioid use disorder.”

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