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Releasing Control

As Congress nears passing a bipartisan bill to push the use of e-prescribing, the Drug Enforcement Agency is finally getting on board. E-prescribing, digitally sending prescriptions directly from the doctor’s office to the pharmacy, is only currently being used by a small portion of the nation’s physicians due to DEA restrictions which create additional work for the doctors. Previously the DEA required doctors to handwrite prescriptions for the controlled substances that make up between 10% and 20% of U.S. prescriptions. Now with the bill close at hand, the DEA is shifting to help endorse the use of e-prescribing. The expectation is that within the next week the DEA will allow controlled substances to be submitted electronically to pharmacies, but there will be additional requirements for the doctors to assure legitimate use of these drugs. This change is good news for patients since it is estimated that thousands of the negative drug events occur due to errors that could be prevented by this technology.

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