People receiving controlled medications via telehealth get another extension, DEA says

With a November cutoff looming, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration has for a second time extended temporary rules allowing prescription of controlled medications via telehealth.

These rules, established during the Covid-19 pandemic, are an exception to the conditions of a law known as the Ryan Haight Act, which require at least one in-person medical examination before a doctor can prescribe a controlled medicine, including stimulant medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, benzodiazepines for anxiety, and drugs for opioid use disorder, sleep or pain, said Dr. Shabana Khan, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Telepsychiatry, in a previous interview with CNN.

As the pandemic public health emergency that allowed for the exception neared its May 11 end date, the DEA received more than 38,000 public comments on two proposals designed to keep some flexibility in the telehealth framework moving forward, Khan said. The proposals would allow telehealth practitioners to prescribe one 30-day supply of buprenorphine — a medication for opioid use disorder — or Schedule III-V non-narcotic controlled medications, without doing an in-person exam first. A patient would have to do an in-person exam before the second prescription of either type of medication, according to those proposals.


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