DEA Extends Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescribing of Controlled Medications

On May 10, 2023, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) released a new regulation – “Temporary Extension of COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications” – temporarily extending the “full set” of DEA’s COVID-19 waivers for prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine. Those waivers, which have been in place since March 2020, are now extended through November 11, 2023. In addition, for any practitioner-patient relationships created during the waiver period, the waivers will continue to apply through November 11, 2024. Put another way, if a patient and practitioner establish a telemedicine relationship by November 11, 2023, the same flexibilities that governed the prescribing will continue to apply through November 11, 2024.

While this is just a temporary extension of COVID flexibilities, it can be considered a win for patients and clinicians using telemedicine. The credit goes to the public at large for making their voices heard (loudly) through the submission of a record-breaking 38,369 public comments to the proposed telemedicine rule. These public comments were a significant reason for this extension. Our gratitude also goes out to the Administration and the leadership at DEA and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for listening to those voices. Finally, a thank you to our clients and the stakeholder professional associations, including the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), for their tireless advocacy in pursuit of patient care.

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