Statement By Surescripts Regarding the DEA Interim Final Rule on E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances
ALEXANDRIA, Va., and ST. PAUL, Minn. - March 29, 2010 - Surescripts applauds the Drug Enforcement Administration for publishing an interim final rule that will take a meaningful step towards improving patient safety in the United States by allowing the electronic prescribing of controlled substances. The rule attempts to balance the legitimate and important interests of law enforcement, private industry and the federal government while producing an approach that is secure, workable and scalable for physicians and other prescribers.
Surescripts plans to work closely with members of the nation's pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers, health plans, software vendors and prescribers to analyze and act on the DEA's requirements. While the requirements may impose particular challenges for prescribers and pharmacies, we look forward to collaborating on solutions that will allow prescribers, pharmacies and all participants to support and comply with all standards and protocols set forth in the regulation.
"Properly designed and implemented, we believe that the e-prescribing of controlled substances will have a positive impact on e-prescribing adoption and use and significantly increase the efficiency and safety of a prescribing process relied on by millions of patients every day," said Harry Totonis, president and CEO of Surescripts. "What's more, by moving from paper to electronic prescribing of controlled substances, the nation will benefit from greater accountability of a class of medications whose system of distribution, by their very definition as 'controlled substances,' demands the utmost integrity and control."
In a recently released report that tracks the status of e-prescribing adoption and use in the United States, Surescripts indicated that, by the end of 2009, approximately 18 percent of eligible prescriptions were prescribed electronically compared with just 6.6 percent at the end of 2008. Moreover, that the number of
prescribers routing prescriptions electronically grew from 74,000 at the end of 2008 to 156,000 by the end of 2009 - representing 25 percent of all office-based prescribers.
And while that growth is significant, the report went on to identify a change in the current DEA rules as a top recommendation to support continued growth in e-prescribing.
The DEA's current restriction on the electronic transmission of prescriptions for controlled substances has forced prescribers to adopt a dual workflow for prescriptions - maintaining a paper-based process for scheduled medications and an electronic one for all others. This limits the number of prescriptions that
are sent electronically, prevents many controlled substance prescriptions from being included in clinical decision support processes (e.g., drug interaction and allergy checking), and adds time and hassle to a process that is still new for many doctors.
For a downloadable copy of the National Progress Report on E-Prescribing, go to
Surescripts operates the nation's largest e-prescription network and supports a rapidly expanding ecosystem of health care organizations nationwide. Surescripts was founded on the principles of neutrality, transparency, interoperability, efficiency, collaboration and quality. Surescripts connects prescribers in all 50 states through their choice of e-prescribing software to the nation's leading payers, chain pharmacies and independent pharmacies. Available during emergencies or routine care, The Nation's E-Prescription Network gives health care providers secure, low-cost, electronic access to prescription and health information that can save their patients' lives, improve efficiency and reduce the cost of health care for all. For more information, go to www.surescripts.com.