Telehealth startups worry DEA proposal will disrupt prescribing drugs that prevent overdoses

As the DEA continues to propose stricter regulations on telehealth-based opioid prescribing, telehealth companies say they are worried that the crackdown won't allow them to prescribe life-saving medications that can help prevent opioid overdoses, The Wall Street Journal reported April 4. 

During the pandemic, a waiver was issued that allowed telehealth companies to prescribe controlled substances such as buprenorphine to patients without seeing them for an in-person consultation. 

But, the Biden administration is now proposing a rule that will discontinue the ability for telemedicine prescribing of controlled substances where the patient has never had an in-person consultation.

Specifically, under the new rule, patients could receive a 30-day supply of buprenorphine without an in-person exam, but would then need an in-person consultation to continue to receive prescriptions via telehealth.  

The DEA is expected to release a draft of the new rule following its comment period. 

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