The Washington Post reports that the Biden Administration is preparing to pull back recent Health and Human Services (HHS) guidance designed to expand access to prescribing buprenorphine for opioid use disorders (OUD).

On January 14, 2021, HHS published Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder.  In a nutshell the guidelines eliminated certain X-waiver certification requirements, allowing any DEA-registered prescriber to issue buprenorphine prescriptions for medication-assisted treatment of OUDs.  The HHS notice does not reference any coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and DEA has yet to publicly comment on this change. Continue Reading Not So Fast: Biden Expected to Halt Expansion of Buprenorphine Prescribing

As I was reviewing the public comments regarding the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) providing a much-needed update to the agency’s suspicious order regulations, I noticed a similar issue raised by multiple commenters.  Apart from the myriad of comments and requests seeking greater clarity from DEA on several definitions and provisions, there appears to remain a misunderstanding of using the 5% rule for distributions amongst practitioners.

Continue Reading Confusion Persists with the 5% Rule

More than four years ago, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (“CARA”) was signed into law. CARA, among other things, includes provisions allowing for the partial filling of prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances. On December 4, 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) implementing the partial fill provisions of CARA. While DEA does include additional provisions in the NPRM “to address certain regulatory requirements not addressed by the CARA[,]” the agency appears to have neglected to fully address circumstances when a prescription for a Schedule II is partially filled. Continue Reading DEA Proposes Regulations for Partial Fills of C-IIs

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published its long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking  (NPRM)  regarding suspicious orders of controlled substances. This will likely be the most heavily scrutinized rule issued by DEA this year. Registrants impacted by this rule should submit comments within sixty (60) days of publication in the Federal Register. Continue Reading DEA Creates Two-Option Framework for Reporting Suspicious Orders

Pharmacies and pharmacists have always been on the front lines in terms of medication safety and the pandemic has produced a new layer of challenges for the industry. I know we are all tired of Zoom meetings (and cheesy headlines), but this year’s American Society for Pharmacy Law Fall Meeting is the one conference you should attend if you want to stay on top of evolving pharmacy law regulations and industry trends.

Continue Reading ASPL Virtual Conference: Your Rx for Developments in Pharmacy Law

Based on information posted on its website, the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) will end its Controlled Substances Act (CSA) subscription service, effective November 17, 2020. As you may recall, the NTIS CSA subscription service provides near-real time information on all active and retired DEA registrations. This is/was a useful tool, particularly for distributors and pharmacies, to check the status of a DEA registration before controlled substances are distributed or dispensed. Many entities have embedded and automated this data into their order management and/or dispensing software. So, this is potentially a big deal. Continue Reading NTIS Ending Its DEA Registration Subscription Service

On October 5, 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) establishing a registration category for emergency medical services (EMS) agencies and the corresponding regulatory requirements for the new category of registrants.  This regulatory action implements the ‘‘Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2017 (the Act). The NPRM includes the following provisions mandated by the Act: Continue Reading DEA Establishes Registration Category for EMS Agencies

On September 30, 2020, DEA published a Final Rule (FR) adopting the Interim Final Rule (IFR) implementing the Ryan Haight Act. The FR made a few technical changes to the regulations and did not substantively change the IFR. What garnered my attention was DEA’s response to comments submitted after publication of the IFR.

Continue Reading DEA’s New/Old View on Due Diligence Requirements

DEA rolled out its proposed aggregate production quotas for 2021 earlier this week, the same day, in fact, that it proposed adjustments to its 2020 quotas. Let’s start off by looking at the Big Five, at least as far as the SUPPORT Act is concerned: fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, and hydromorphone. Continue Reading DEA Submits Proposed Quotas for 2021