July 8, 2020

Volume X, Number 190

July 07, 2020

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July 06, 2020

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DEA Allows Providers to Prescribe Controlled Substances Without an In-Person Medical Examination During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued guidance permitting DEA-registered practitioners to prescribe controlled substances without an in-person medical exam of the patient for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. To issue such prescriptions without an in-person exam, a DEA-registered practitioner must meet the following requirements:

  • The prescription is for a legitimate medical purpose by a practitioner acting in the usual course of his/her professional practice;

  • The telemedicine communication with the patient 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.

Practitioners may either (1) issue electronic prescriptions for Schedule II through V controlled substances, (2) call a pharmacy with an emergency prescription for a Schedule II controlled substance, or (3) call a pharmacy for any other prescription for a Schedule III-V controlled substance.

Note that a prescribing practitioner that has conducted an in-person medical exam of the patient may issue a controlled substances prescription after communicating with the patient by telemedicine (or other means) even if there is no public health emergency. In such a case, the prescription must be for a legitimate medical purpose and the practitioner must be acting in the usual course of his/her professional practice and in accordance with applicable laws.

Copyright © 2020 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 78

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About this Author

Nathaniel Arden, Health Care and Intellectual Property Attorney, Robinson Cole Law Firm, Hartford, Connecticut
Associate

Nathaniel Arden is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Health Law Group. He advises hospitals, health systems, physician groups, community providers, and other health care entities on a variety of health law and business issues. His practice focuses on health care-related regulatory and transactional matters, as well as health care-related information technology issues. Nathaniel has an extensive background in the healthcare industry, and he worked at a large academic medical center prior to joining the firm.

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