The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that it is extending its temporary telehealth prescribing rule of controlled substances, including buprenorphine, until Dec. 31, 2024.
This second temporary rule continues the COVID-19 public health emergency flexibilities around telehealth prescribing of Schedule II – Schedule V controlled substances to ensure continued patient access to critical services, including treatments for behavioral health and substance use disorders. The second temporary rule sets forth the following timeline for the flexibilities:
- Schedule II – V controlled substances can be prescribed via telehealth without an in-person visit until Dec. 31, 2024; and
- Prescribing is no longer limited to those patients who had established a patient-practitioner relationship by Nov. 11, 2023, as required under the initial temporary rule.
ASHP advocated for eliminating the in-person prescribing requirement for Schedule II – V controlled substances, spearheading joint comments with other pharmacy organizations and submitting separate comments on the buprenorphine and CIII-CV proposed rules. DEA indicated that it hopes to try to finalize a telehealth rule before the end of 2024 and will allow stakeholder comments prior to finalizing a rule.
“We applaud DEA’s decision to extend telehealth flexibilities,” said Tom Kraus, ASHP vice president of government relations. “Given the very real and pressing need for access to mental health and medications for opioid-use disorder, it is critical that we have a carefully crafted permanent framework that does not limit telehealth prescribing of buprenorphine and provides sufficient flexibility for telehealth prescribing of Schedule III-V medications.”
ASHP will update members as additional information about the extension of DEA telehealth prescribing flexibilities becomes available. Member questions should be sent to Jillanne Schulte Wall.