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This descriptive review aims to describe the impact of controlled substance prescriptive authority (CSPA) among Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-registered clinical pharmacist practitioners (pharmacists) within the Veterans Health Administration (VA). The practice perspectives of pharmacists with CSPA are also reviewed. A 3-part methodology included identification and query of DEA-registered pharmacists, practice impact data analysis, and time and motion prescribing analysis. Between quarter 1 of fiscal year 2018 and quarter 2 of fiscal year 2022, the number of DEA-registered pharmacists in the VA grew by 314%, from 21 to 87 pharmacists. Pharmacists in pain management and mental health reported benefits of CSPA, with the most common being practice autonomy (93%), increased efficiency (92%), and reduced burden on other prescribers (89%). Initial challenges to pharmacists obtaining DEA registration included a lack of incentive (46%) and concern about increased liability (37%). A time and motion analysis demonstrated that pharmacists with CSPA saved a median of 12 minutes for prescription writing compared to those without CSPA. There is an opportunity for DEA-registered pharmacists to meet patient care needs to fill gaps in care from physician shortages, improve health equity, and provide quality healthcare for vulnerable, underserved populations, especially in areas where controlled substance prescribing is common. To fully optimize the role of the pharmacist, it is imperative that state practice acts be expanded to include pharmacist DEA authority as part of collaborative practice and that fair and equitable payment models be established for pharmacist comprehensive medication management. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 2023.


Shekinah G Baum, Terri L Jorgenson, Courtney Kominek, Abigail Brooks, Kellie Rose. DEA-registered clinical pharmacist practitioners: Progressing practice to increase patient care access. American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 2023 Jul 21;80(15):984-993

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PMID: 37156640

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