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“On October 6, 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released a second temporary rule extending the COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications,” Nathan Beaver and Thomas Ferrante of Foley & Lardner write over at National Law Review. “This second extension, issued shortly after DEA’s listening session on a potential new Telemedicine Special Registration, gives practitioners and patients certainty of the DEA requirements for telemedicine prescribing through the end of 2024.  Without this Second Temporary Rule, COVID-19 telemedicine flexibilities would expire on November 11, 2023, with respect to practitioner-patient relationships established after that date (as described in our previous blog post). This Second Temporary Rule – entitled ‘Second Temporary Extension of COVID-19 Telemedicine Flexibilities for Prescription of Controlled Medications’ – continues the temporary extension of the ‘full set’ of DEA’s COVID-19 waivers for prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine. Those waivers, which have been in place since March 2020, are now extended through December 31, 2024. DEA said it is again extending the ‘full set’ of telemedicine flexibilities regarding the prescription of controlled medications, referencing the two DEA letters that authorized telemedicine waivers.” Nathan Beaver and Thomas Ferrante, “DEA extends telemedicine flexibilities for prescribing of controlled medications: Second Time is the charm,” National Law Review. The decision had been eagerly anticipated by patients and doctors alike, given that the reinstatement of tougher regulations for prescribing by telemedicine promised to create difficulties for people accustomed to getting medications easily. The conversation about this topic also questioned why the Drug Enforcement Administration should be changing how people get their medications.

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...