DEA Proposes Limits on Telehealth Prescriptions of Controlled Substances

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has released proposed rules governing telehealth-based prescribing that extend some telehealth flexibilities but reinstate previous rules related to the virtual prescription of some controlled substances following the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, various policy changes led to a higher level of leniency in the rules surrounding prescriptions provided via telehealth. This was mainly due to the need to limit exposure to the deadly coronavirus. However, as the PHE evolved and vaccines and treatments became more widely available, the government is revisiting policy flexibilities related to telehealth.

In this proposal from the DEA, the agency noted that various pandemic-era telehealth rules would be made permanent. These include telehealth consultations that do not involve prescribing controlled medications and those that do but are conducted by a medical practitioner that has previously performed an in-person examination of the patient.

Further, the rules would allow telehealth consultations and prescriptions by providers to whom a patient has been referred if the referring provider has previously conducted an in-person patient exam.

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Published online 2.27.2023

Author: Mark Melchionna

DEA Proposes Limits on Telehealth Prescriptions of Controlled Substances was last modified: March 7th, 2023 by Heidi Rubens Cooper