The U.S. drug enforcement administration (DEA) is weighing a proposal that would impose permanent rules for prescribing medications via telehealth. Following the Covid-19 public health emergency, the DEA intends to limit access to controlled substances without at least one in-person doctor’s visit, which could largely affect the accessibility of testosterone.
The new rule changes were first made public in February and would also affect patients’ abilities to obtain attention deficit disorder medications like Adderall and prescription painkillers such as OxyContin. Fitness influencers Derek of More Plates More Dates and Greg Doucette have taken to social media to voice their disapproval of the proposal.
In the bodybuilding and fitness community, testosterone has become widely available and used for its muscle-building qualities. It’s credited as a powerful tool for strength, health, and wellness, especially for those remaining active in later years. Given the prevalence of testosterone replacement therapy clinics in the U.S., many fear the treatment will become extremely difficult to procure legally if this measure is approved.
DEA Aiming to Limit Telehealth Prescriptions like Testosterone in 2023
According to the DEA, this action was taken to assist with enhanced patient care to critical therapies. The proposal would not affect consultations relating to non-controlled substances. However, exceptions were made for substance abuse disorder medications.
You can find the DEA statement below:
The proposed rules do not affect:
- Telemedicine consultations that do not involve the prescribing of controlled medications.
- Telemedicine consultations by a medical practitioner that has previously conducted an in-person medical examination of a patient.
The proposed rules also would not affect:
- Telemedicine consultations and prescriptions by a medical practitioner to whom a patient has been referred, as long as the referring medical practitioner has previously conducted an in-person medical examination of the patient.
The proposed rules would provide safeguards for a narrow subset of telemedicine consultations—those telemedicine consultations by a medical practitioner that has: never conducted an in-person evaluation of a patient; AND that result in the prescribing of a controlled medication. For these types of consultations, the proposed telemedicine rules would allow medical practitioners to prescribe:
a 30-day supply of Schedule III-V non-narcotic controlled medications;
a 30-day supply of buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder
without an in-person evaluation or referral from a medical practitioner that has conducted an in-person evaluation, as long as the prescription is otherwise consistent with any applicable Federal and State laws. The proposed rules are explained in further detail for patients and medical practitioners on DEA.gov.
“DEA is committed to ensuring that all Americans can access needed medications,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “The permanent expansion of telemedicine flexibilities would continue greater access to care for patients across the country, while ensuring the safety of patients. DEA is committed to the expansion of telemedicine with guardrails that prevent the online overprescribing of controlled medications that can cause harm.”
“Improved access to mental health and substance use disorder services through expanded telemedicine flexibilities will save lives,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “We still have millions of Americans, particularly those living in rural communities, who face difficulties accessing a doctor or health care provider in-person. At HHS, we are committed to working with our federal partners and stakeholders to advance proven technologies and lifesaving care for the benefit of all Americans.”
The proposed telemedicine rules also further DEA’s goal of expanding access to medication for opioid use disorder to anyone in the country who needs it. “Medication for opioid use disorder helps those who are fighting to overcome substance use disorder by helping people achieve and sustain recovery, and also prevent drug poisonings,” said DEA Administrator Milgram. “The telemedicine regulations would continue to expand access to buprenorphine for patients with opioid use disorder.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, telehealth was an effective tool for treating patients without an in-person visit. If the new regulations are adopted, patients will be required to see a doctor in person at least once to obtain a prescription for controlled substances. Refills, however, can be prescribed in the future via telehealth appointments.
RELATED: Best Ways to Increase Testosterone Naturally
The new rule also seeks to help those in rural areas who struggle with regular access to medical screenings and doctor appointments. DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said she and the organization are ‘committed to the expansion of telemedicine with guardrails that prevent the online overprescribing of controlled medications that can cause harm.’ In light of their proposal, the DEA gave the public 30 days to review and comment on the matter here.
Leave a Reply