DEA allows remote prescribing of controlled substances

DEA allows remote prescribing of controlled substances

On March 20, 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) posted guidance allowing DEA-registered practitioners to prescribe controlled substances remotely (e.g., through telehealth) during the COVID-19 national emergency period.

The Ryan Haight Act generally requires a practitioner to conduct at least one in-person medical evaluation before remotely issuing a prescription for a controlled substance, but includes an exception for public health emergencies that are declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  On March 16, 2020, the Secretary designated that the telemedicine allowance applies to all schedule II-V controlled substances in all areas of the United States.  The DEA now allows the prescribing of controlled substances through telemedicine during the COVID-19 emergency period if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The prescription is issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a practitioner acting in the usual course of his/her professional practice;
  • The telemedicine communication is conducted using an audio-visual, real-time, two-way interactive communication system; and
  • The practitioner is acting in accordance with applicable Federal and State law.

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