USA — In an effort to address the ongoing opioid crisis, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has proposed new rules that require patients to see a doctor in person before receiving prescriptions for certain drugs, such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Adderall, and Ritalin, which have a high potential for abuse.

The new rule would reinstate federal requirements that were waived during the pandemic, allowing doctors to write prescriptions without ever meeting patients in person.

Patients would still be able to receive refills through telehealth appointments, but would need to have an initial in-person consultation with a doctor.

Less addictive drugs, such as codeine, Xanax, Ambien, and buprenorphine, could still be prescribed over telehealth for an initial 30-day dose, but patients would need to have an in-person visit to receive a refill.

Antibiotics, skin creams, birth control, and insulin can still be prescribed through telehealth visits.

The proposed rules aim to balance expanded access to telehealth with safety measures, but there are concerns that some companies may be overprescribing medications to people who don’t need them.

The new rules may also have a significant impact on the telehealth industry, which has benefited from the pandemic’s loosened regulations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) plans to have the new rule in place before the COVID-19 public health emergency expires on May 11, and patients will have six months to comply with the regulation once it is enacted.

Over the past 20 years, the United States has been plagued by the opioid epidemic, which began with the overprescribing of prescription narcotics in the late 1990s.

However, the types of drugs that have caused the majority of deaths have changed over time. More than half a million people have lost their lives to this epidemic, which continues to be a pressing public health issue.

In the meantime, the opioid crisis in the US has reached a new record in 2021, with synthetic opioids like fentanyl being the primary cause of overdose deaths, according to Centers for Disease Control Data.

This crisis was initially fueled by drug manufacturers, pharmacies, and doctors who pushed prescription drugs to patients decades ago.

However, fentanyl is increasingly being found on the illicit market, often mixed with other drugs or pressed into fake prescription pills.

The new rules proposed by the DEA aim to regulate the telehealth industry, which has benefited from the pandemic’s reprieve on in-person visits for drugs.

However, the DEA has grown concerned that some telehealth companies are improperly prescribing addictive substances like opioids or attention deficit disorder medication, putting patients in danger.

Patients who seek treatment from a doctor who is hundreds of miles away may need to start developing plans for in-person visits with their doctors as the regulation is enacted.

This can be a challenge, and many states have already moved to restore limitations for telehealth care across state lines, making it harder for doctors to see patients in other states.

For all the latest healthcare industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and YouTube Channel, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook.