DOS Temporarily Suspends Requirement to Provide Written Prescription Within 72-Hours of Emergency Oral Prescription

Last Updated: May 13, 2020


The Department of State (DOS) has temporarily suspended a State Board of Medicine regulation related to emergency oral (verbally conveyed) prescriptions. The temporary suspension was requested following recent guidance provided by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and a related waiver subsequently issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH).

Access the full emergency oral prescription waiver here.

Background on the Waiver 

DEA rules require practitioners to deliver a written prescription to a dispensing pharmacy within 7-days of an emergency oral prescription for a Schedule II controlled substance. In March, the DEA issued guidance extending this period to 15-days in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

Under State Board of Medicine regulations, a prescribing practitioner must deliver a written prescription to the dispensing pharmacist within 72 hours of authorizing an emergency oral prescription for a Schedule II controlled substance.

DOH also has a similar 72-hour requirement in its regulations. DOH recently issued a waiver of its 72-hour requirement and increased the timeframe to 15 days to match the DEA guidance.

To eliminate any potential confusion, DOS has now temporarily suspended the State Board of Medicine’s 72-hour requirement as well. DOS states that prescribers are expected to deliver paper prescriptions for emergency oral prescriptions as soon as is practical, but at the very latest must do so within 15 days to remain in compliance.

This waiver shall extend for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency and, to preserve continuity, will continue for so long as the DOH waiver remains in effect.

Where Can I Find Additional Information? 

Statutory and regulatory suspensions, in response to the COVID-19 emergency, continue to be announced. When announced, suspensions and waivers will be posted by DOS on its COVID-19 suspensions and waivers webpage here.

PAMED has established a COVID-19 resource page where you will find additional information and resources on the COVID-19 outbreak.

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