The future of ketamine telehealth clinics, the number of which grew during the Covid-19 pandemic, is uncertain due to new rules from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The rules, which aim to undo controlled substances prescribed via telehealth, have received over 21,000 public comments, with the overwhelming majority opposed.
The Ryan Haight Act required the DEA create a special registration process for telehealth prescribing of controlled substances without an initial in-person visit.
The DEA’s new proposed rules would largely eliminate telehealth-only prescribing for Schedule III to V narcotic and Schedule II non-narcotic controlled substances without a prior in-person examination (there are narrow exceptions for time-limited supplies of non-narcotic drugs and buprenorphine).
The rules have also been criticized for limiting access to care for rural and economically disadvantaged areas.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) is urging the DEA to create a special registration process to waive in-person evaluations and extend waivers for the in-person visit requirement for prescribing controlled substances until a telemedicine process is proposed.
Ketamine is currently the only psychedelic that can be legally prescribed off-label for mental health conditions and has shown positive outcomes for patients accessing it through online distance treatment modalities.