E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances Moves Forward

In May, Surescripts, the leading e-prescribing network in the United States, submitted a letter to the State Board of Pharmacy, state controlled substance agencies, and state and national pharmacy organizations, providing an update on the questions and concerns received by Surescripts surrounding electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS). To read the letter, click here.

The notice provides information, including but not limited to a description of what needs to be done in order for electronic health record (EHR) vendors and pharmacy practice management vendors to be able to connect users to the Surescripts network for EPCS communications; a list of companies that can conduct the audits required by the DEA’s EPCS final rule; and a list of vendors who have completed the necessary steps to become EPCS compliant. Other details include:

  • States do not have to have a certifying or qualifying entity
  • Vendors are responsible for identity proofing health care professionals
  • It is expensive for pharmacies and EHR vendors to go through the process of implementing EPCS
  • Physicians and pharmacists should check with their vendors to see when EPCS will be available
  • Chain pharmacists vary with launching EPCS nationally or state-by-state
  • Nationally, only four pharmacy software companies are certified to receive EPCS (Rite Aid, Walgreens, Super VALU, and Cerner)

According to Surescripts, the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy (NCBOP) is encouraging pharmacies to contact their vendors to request the status of when they will be moving toward EPCS. The NCMS will provide updates on this issue when they arise. Members also may contact Ken Whittemore, Jr., RPh, MBA, Senior Vice President, Professional & Regulatory Affairs of Surescripts, at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.


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