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.

The statement from NTIS indicates that DEA will take over management of the database.  Curiously, DEA’s website is silent on this matter. With that said, it is my understanding that DEA intends to provide its database to DEA registrants (and maybe non-registrants who demonstrate a legitimate need for the information) free of charge (maybe).

Please note – this is only what I am hearing and that you should be on the lookout for official guidance from DEA.

Expectations are that sometime soon (and hopefully before November 17, 2020) DEA will provide greater clarity on the cost, format, and access rules for the registration database.  It will be interesting to see how this “new” product gets rolled out by DEA.  As I have discussed in previous posts, the agency does not have a strong track record with respect to managing IT products that are used by DEA registrants (see e.g. CSOS). I will be sure to keep my readers updated as more information becomes available.