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DEA to Extend Telemedicine Flexibility for Controlled Substances

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on May 3 announced a temporary extension of flexible policies granted during the COVID-19 public health emergency for prescribing controlled medications via telemedicine.

In February, the DEA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed to limit the ability of providers to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine. The agencies proposed to require initial in-person visits to prescribe Schedule II medications or narcotics and requiring in-person visits to refill prescriptions for Schedule III–V non-narcotic controlled medications and buprenorphine.

The DEA says it received a record 38,000 comments on the proposed telemedicine rules and has therefore “decided to extend the current flexibilities while we work to find a way forward to give Americans that access with appropriate safeguards. ”

DEA and HHS have submitted a draft temporary rule entitled “Temporary Extension of COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications,” which is under review by the Office of Management and Budget.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Faridat Animashaun is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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