Interim Final Rule with Request for Comment Questions and Answers for Prescribing Practitioners

From the DOJ / DEA:

Q. What is DEA’s rule “Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances?”

A. DEA’s rule, “Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances” revises DEA’s regulations to provide practitioners with the option of writing prescriptions for controlled substances electronically. The regulations will also permit pharmacies to receive, dispense, and archive these electronic prescriptions. The rule was published in the Federal Register Wednesday, March 31, 2010 and becomes effective on June 1, 2010.

Q. Is the use of electronic prescriptions for controlled substances mandatory?

A. No, the new regulations do not mandate that practitioners prescribe controlled substances using only electronic prescriptions. Nor do they require pharmacies to accept electronic prescriptions for controlled substances for dispensing. Whether a practitioner or pharmacy uses electronic prescriptions for controlled substances is voluntary from DEA’s perspective. Prescribing practitioners are still able to write, and manually sign, prescriptions for schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substances and pharmacies are still able to dispense controlled substances based on those written prescriptions. Oral prescriptions remain valid for schedule III, IV, and V controlled substances. Electronic prescriptions for controlled substances are only permissible if the electronic prescription and the pharmacy application meet DEA’s requirements. In addition, electronic prescriptions for controlled substances may be subject to state laws and regulations. If state requirements are more stringent than DEA’s regulations, the state requirements would supersede any less stringent DEA provision.

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