By Clint Watts
Over the past few years, the healthcare regulatory complex has been working to support innovation and electronic integration while addressing public concerns like the opioid epidemic. During this same period, Telemedicine has emerged with the potential to fundamentally change the way patients and providers interact. Though they may disagree as to the answer, regulators, enforcement agents, and telemedicine providers are now united in asking how to best prescribe and manage controlled substances remotely.
The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 (the “Act”) was one of the first attempts to adapt substance control to the digital age. Congress passed the Act to amend the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act and “prevent the illegal distribution and dispensing of controlled substances by means of the internet.” It did so by setting forth a number of requirements that restricted the operation of internet pharmacies and remote treatment programs. Among these, a prescribing provider was required to conduct in-person medical evaluations or otherwise meet one of very few narrow exceptions. Under the Act, “[t]he term in-person medical evaluation means a medical evaluation that is conducted with the patient in the physical presence of the practitioner….”[Read more…] about Is Telemedicine Regulation Catching Up with Remote Drug Needs?