Groups challenge DEA rule on e-prescribing controlled substances

A pending rule from the DEA that would impose tight controls on e-prescribing of controlled substances has been slammed by a handful of industry groups as being too restrictive and in some cases too expensive for providers to absorb. To date, many providers have refused to adopt this technology, as they are reluctant to switch back and forth between e-prescribing for some drugs and paper prescribing for controlled substances. The DEA rule, which was long anticipated, was intended to make e-prescribing more practical by making controlled substance e-prescribing legal.

One group criticizing the rule is the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, which argues that the new rule's requirements don't fit with existing e-prescribing systems, and that they'd be expensive to roll out in rural settings. Meanwhile, it also says that the rules would be incompatible with the needs of long-term-care patients on pain-management therapy, as nurses often make drug recommendations in such settings. (The rules would require the prescriber to be in close physical proximity to the patient.)

The American Hospital Association has also complained about the rule, arguing that it could impose so much legal liability on prescribes that it could prevent them from adopting the new system. One major liability issue, for example, is whether the rules would allow criminal charges to be filed against a prescriber if someone were to steal and misuse an identity-related tool such as a PDA or memory stick.

To learn more about the groups' objections:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

Related Articles:
Coalition urges changes in controlled-substance prescribing
Group says controlled-substance rules block e-prescribing
E-prescribing: What's holding it back?

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