Sunday, March 28, 2010

Interim Final Rule Issued

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Interim Final Rule on electronic prescribing for controlled substances was issued on March 24th. The Interim Final Rules spells out the rules that healthcare providers will need to follow in order to electronically prescribe controlled substance according to the law.

DEA is in the process of revising its regulations to provide practitioners with the option of writing prescription for controlled substance electronically. The regulations will also permit pharmacies to receive, dispense, and archive electronic prescriptions.

The regulations would enable pharmacies, hospitals, and practitioners to use modern technology for controlled substance prescriptions while maintaining the closed system of controls on controlled substances dispensing.

The regulations will reduce paperwork for DEA registrants, help both pharmacies and hospitals integrate prescription records into other medical records, reduce the amount of time patients spend waiting to have prescriptions filled, potentially reduce the number of prescription errors, and reduce prescription forgeries.

Once DEA published the first Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for electronic prescribing of controlled substances, ONC, CMS, AHRQ, and other HHS staff have been working closely with DEA to develop the policies for the Interim Final Rule.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) an active participant concerning the issue, provided a statement supporting the Interim Final Rule. “Allowing for electronic prescribing of controlled substances while maintaining rigorous controls to prevent illegal diversion to protect privacy is the key to unleashing the vast cost saving and quality improvement potential of health IT. This new interim rule from the DEA and DOJ brings us one step closer to that goal.”

The Interim Final Rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on March 31, 2010 and will include a 60 day comment period.