APhA coronavirus watch: DEA says schedule II prescriptions by phone are OK in emergencies
According to guidance released Monday, March 30, DEA will allow oral prescriptions of schedule II controlled substances when they are needed for the proper treatment of a patient, there are no appropriate treatment options, and when submitting an electronic or paper prescription to the pharmacy prior to dispensing the substance is not possible. Prescribers can make the determination based on whether individual patients’ circumstances meet these criteria—not all controlled II prescriptions will be prescribed by phone.
There are conditions that govern whether a pharmacist can dispense a by-phone prescription.
Oral prescriptions must be limited to only the adequate amount the patient needs imminently. Schedule II prescriptions beyond that period are still subject to the requirement for paper or electronic submission.
Pharmacists must immediately put the prescription in writing, covering all required fields other than the prescriber’s signature.
Pharmacists must make a good faith effort to verify that the prescription comes from a DEA-registered practitioner if the prescriber is one the pharmacist has not worked with before. DEA specifies in its guidance that one option is a callback to the prescribing individual practitioner using the phone number as listed in the telephone directory.