Published Online: Monday, January 1, 2007

Plans by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to allow the issuance of multiple prescription orders for Schedule II controlled substances at one time with instructions to fill the orders on sequential days drew a thumbs up from organized pharmacy.

The proposed change represents a course reversal of sorts for the DEA, which had taken the position that permitting multiple prescriptions is equivalent to allowing refills—a practice that is clearly prohibited under federal law. Although the new system would permit multiple prescription orders to be prepared on the same day, prescribers would be required to complete a separate prescription order that includes the date the prescription was issued and signed and the effective dates on which each subsequent prescription order can be filled.

The American Pharmacists Association said the change strikes the "proper balance between providing adequate patient care and maintaining proper controls to prevent diversion and abuse of controlled substances."

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