April 30, 2020

DEA Looking at Biometric Identifiers for E-Prescribing

The DEA recently reopened an interim final rule (IFR), originally published in March 2010, that allows practitioners to write prescriptions for controlled substances electronically. The IFR required multifactor authentication for electronic prescriptions of controlled substances. It was contemplated that a factor could be biometric data, such as a fingerprint or iris scan. In October 2018, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act) was signed into law, mandating that within 1 year  of enactment, the Attorney General update the IFR's requirements for the biometric component of multifactor authentication with respect to electronic prescriptions of controlled substances. On April 21, the DEA published a Request for Information seeking comments on using biometric identifiers for multifactor authentication. The DEA reminds commenters that any new recommended approaches would be helpful only if the DEA is able to adopt these new approaches while still ensuring the security and accountability of systems to identify fraud and prevent diversion. The comment period is open through June 22.