The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a temporary rule that will go into effect on May 11, 2023, and will extend the flexibilities for prescribing controlled substances via telemedicine that were established during the COVID-19 public health emergency. These flexibilities will remain in place until November 11, 2023. Additionally, the DEA’s temporary rule extends these telemedicine flexibilities until November 11, 2024, for any practitioner-patient relationships established through telemedicine on or before November 11, 2023.

The DEA, in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will continue to review the comments submitted in response to the DEA’s proposed rules from March 2023, which aimed to address telemedicine flexibilities related to controlled substance prescriptions during the public health emergency. The DEA intends to release final rules before November 11th.

On May 10th, the DEA published its temporary rule, which extends the full set of telemedicine flexibilities for controlled substance prescriptions that were in effect during the public health emergency until November 11, 2023. It also extends these flexibilities for an additional year, until November 11, 2024, for any practitioner-patient telemedicine relationship established on or before November 11, 2023. The DEA made the temporary rule effective on May 11th, coinciding with the expiration of the public health emergency. The temporary rule will expire on November 11, 2024.

The DEA released this temporary rule in collaboration with SAMHSA after receiving over 38,000 comments in response to the DEA’s proposed rules from March 2023. During the public health emergency, the DEA granted several temporary exceptions to the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 (the Ryan Haight Act) and DEA’s implementing regulations, which allowed for telemedicine waivers.

If you need legal assistance with DEA rulemaking, telehealth-related regulatory matters, PHE flexibilities, or prescribing controlled substances, we are here to help.

AUTHOR: Ayesha Mehdi is a partner in the healthcare group at Spencer Fane, LLP, and provides legal counsel to healthcare practitioners and closely-held healthcare businesses in the Las Vegas Greater Area. With expertise in corporate, transactional, regulatory, and licensure matters, Ayesha offers comprehensive support to clients in the Nevada healthcare industry. Ayesha has authored multiple publications on healthcare law and is also a sought-after speaker at regional and national seminars and conferences organized by legal and healthcare associations. If you require legal assistance for your healthcare business or practice, Ayesha is available to help. You can reach her at or 702.408.3416.

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