Living with Chronic Pain

U.S. Pharmacies Are Now Allowed to Transfer Opioid Prescriptions


On August 28, 2023, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) implemented a new rule allowing initial prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances to be electronically transferred from one pharmacy to another. This rule was initially formed to decrease the risk of drug diversion, which is the misuse or illegal obtainment of prescription drugs. However, drug diversion related to opioids is exceedingly rare, with 0.3% of oxycodone and 0.42% hydrocodone being lost, stolen, or otherwise diverted. While this rule is expected to cost pharmacies over $91 million annually, the overall reduction of cost to the health care system is projected to be around $22 million.

The effectiveness of getting prescriptions filled will also increase. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and certain stimulants have recently been in chronic shortages in the U.S. This has resulted in the inability to obtain certain necessary medications. The capability to transfer prescriptions to other pharmacies which may have the medication in stock could be pivotal to those impacted by the shortages.

Additional source: U.S. Department of Justice: Drug Enforcement Administration

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