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DEA Physician Registration Numbers: A Need to Know

James R. Cooper, MD
JAMA. 1994;271(3):193. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510270039024.
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To the Editor.  —Having lost my luggage while traveling recently, I attempted to obtain two antibiotic tablets by prescription from a San Francisco, Calif, pharmacy. While I provided my state medical license identification card and driver's license with photograph identification, the pharmacist insisted that I also tell him my Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number as a condition for dispensing the two tablets. Even more astonishing, the pharmacist later acknowledged confirming my name and local address from his computer database. Furthermore, the pharmacist volunteered that he had access through his database to the names, addresses, and DEA numbers of all US registered physicians, as did every pharmacy in this large national chain.The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 established a closed system of distribution of controlled psychoactive substances primarily to prevent their diversion for illicit use. The cornerstone of the legislation is the requirement for the registration of all manufacturers,


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