Physicians who prescribe controlled substances must have a DEA license in each state that they are actively prescribing. This article reviews all relevant items about having a DEA license and if you should have multiple DEA licenses.
As a physician, you may consider the pros and cons of obtaining multiple Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) licenses. Beyond the cost of having multiple DEA licenses, there are benefits to having multiple DEA licenses, such as providing more flexibility with scheduling and staffing. This article provides an overview of who needs a DEA license and things physicians should be aware of if they are interested in having multiple DEA licenses.
***This article does not discuss how physician-run drug dispensaries must comply with the DEA.
Anyone that prescribes controlled substances such as opioids and sedatives. This includes physicians, dentists, podiatrists, veterinarians, and other prescribers.
Technically, NO. A physician only needs a DEA license if they prescribe controlled substances such as opioids and sedatives. On the other hand, having a DEA license makes it easier for physicians to obtain employment, contract with insurance companies, and work with drugstores.
Prescribers must have a DEA license in each state they prescribe, and most physicians will only require one DEA license to cover them in a single state. Those prescribers that have drug dispensers may require additional licenses within one state.
You must have an active medical license in the state in which you are applying for a DEA license.
No, you only require a DEA license in the states where you prescribe controlled substances. For example, you could have five state medical licenses but only need one DEA license if you only prescribe in one of those five states.
The DEA requires physicians to have a DEA license in each state where the physicians are actively prescribing controlled substances.
Registering for a new DEA license generally takes less than 30 minutes. You can start the process HERE.
It depends on where you are getting a DEA license, but most states can get a new DEA license within two months.
No matter which state you get a DEA license, it will cost $888.
Every three years, your DEA license must be renewed. The current cost for renewal is $888, but this could increase over time.
Yes, each physician registering for a new DEA license or renewing it must complete three hours of CME on opioid prescribing and addiction medicine. A few states will require additional CMEs on the topic of prescribing at the time when physicians renew their state medical licenses.
The DEA requires that a physical address is used when applying for a new DEA license. It must be the principal address of the business. In most cases, it cannot be a PO Box. If your home address is considered your principal address of the business, then you can apply with that address, but be aware that your address will be accessible to the general public.
It depends on the state where you are transferring to, but most states can update your DEA license in less than three weeks.
The process is simple and takes only a few minutes. To transfer your DEA license to another state, you can update your license by starting the process HERE with the principal business address in the state you are transferring to.
This process is FREE.
Many states require physicians to have a DEA license and a “controlled substance license.” There are fees associated with getting a controlled substance license. Please review each state’s requirements and if you need a controlled substance license even if you are not prescribing opioids and sedatives. You can find the list of states that require a Controlled Substance License in addition to a DEA license HERE.
If you intend to work and regularly prescribe in multiple states, consider having multiple DEA licenses. Relying on the states to quickly transfer your DEA to another state is not a reliable strategy, as the states cannot predict how long it will take to complete the transfer. To be safe, you would need about three weeks of downtime from prescribing to get your DEA transferred to another state. If you routinely cover two medical facilities in two separate states and don’t have three weeks to wait, get a second DEA license.
The fees. Each DEA license costs $888 every three years. Having multiple DEA licenses usually does not mean you must do additional CMEs unless the state requires it. Additional fees will be seen in those states that require you to have a controlled substance license and a DEA license.
Whether or not obtaining multiple DEA licenses is worth it for physicians depends mainly on their individual situations and goals for their practice. For those looking for greater flexibility or to readily treat patients in multiple states and willing to pay the associated fees, having multiple DEA licenses may be worth it. On the other hand, if you treat patients primarily in one state, then a single DEA license may be sufficient. Ultimately, only you can decide what’s best for your individual circumstance as a practicing physician when it comes to getting multiple DEA licenses.