Group says controlled-substance rules block e-prescribing

A new group of IT and pharma-related companies told Congress last week that if Drug Enforcement Administration rules regarding controlled-substance prescribing aren't changed, they could substantially slow physician and pharmacist use of e-prescribing dramatically. Members of the group, the Controlled Substances Coalition, include RiteAid, BlueCross Blue Shield, CVS, the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, Wal-Mart and Sage Software.

Right now, 13 percent of all prescriptions are written for controlled substances. Physicians and pharmacists say that they're reluctant to switch to e-prescribing if they're going to have to maintain both a paper trail for controlled substances and an electronic process for the rest.

DEA officials testifying on the Hill contend that the paper process should stay in place, however, arguing, in effect, that they'd rather stick with a system they understand. Coalitions members, meanwhile, assert that e-prescribing was more secure than paper scripts. (This argument which makes sense to your editor, by the way; haven't DEA officials ever lost a completely untrackable paper prescription out of their wallet or purse?)

To learn more about the debate:
- read this Healthcare Finance News article

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