Bradley Davidsen Cited in “How Are States Using Telemedicine to Tackle the Opioid Abuse Crisis?”


mHealthIntelligence cited a recent TechHealth Perspectives blog post, “New State Laws Allow Telehealth Prescriptions for Controlled Substances; Yet, Regulatory Obstacles Still Remain,” in “How Are States Using Telemedicine to Tackle the Opioid Abuse Crisis?” authored by Bradley S. Davidsen, Associate in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Chicago office.

Following is an excerpt:

With the nation in the grip of an opioid abuse crisis, doctors and pharmacists see telemedicine and telehealth as an opportunity to improve outcomes by improving the distribution and management of controlled substances.

But the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s Ryan Haight Act, passed in 2008, sets very strict limits on how those digital health platforms and tools are used, and while federal officials have hinted at amending that law to help practitioners on the front lines of the crisis, no action has yet been taken.

As a result, state legislatures and medical boards are tackling the issue.

In a recent post in the National Law Review, Bradley S. Davidsen, an associate in the Health Care and Life Sciences Practice with the Epstein Becker Green law firm, highlights three states that are taking different approaches to telemedicine guidelines.

In Indiana, legislation passed in 2017 expands the list of controlled medications that practitioners can prescribe through a telemedicine or telehealth platform, while still banning opioids and two hot-topic telehealth uses: abortion-inducing medications and ocular telemedicine.

“The Indiana law is particularly thoughtful and timely because it excludes from the ban any opioids that act as partial-agonists are used to treat or manage opioid dependence,” Davidsen writes. “Therefore, the Indiana law not only expands treatment options by allowing the remote prescribing of many controlled substances, including some that can be used to treat opioid dependence disorders, but does so in a manner that attempts, discretely, to address the opioid dependence epidemic by limiting access to most opioids.” …

According to Davidsen, Hawaii doesn’t specifically permit using telehealth or telemedicine to prescribe controlled substances, but it leaves the definition of a controlled substance open to interpretation, only specifying that an in-person examination be required prior to the prescription of opioids or medical marijuana.

Those statutes, Davidsen says, “would logically support the assumption that prescribing other, less controversial controlled substances would be permissible.” …

According to Davidsen, in legislation passed in 2016, Florida lawmakers have taken a more nuanced approach to telemedicine prescribing by allowing it under certain conditions, such as in treating psychiatric disorders.