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DEA Physician Registration Numbers: A Need to Know-Reply

G. Thomas Gitchel
JAMA. 1994;271(3):193-194. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510270039025.
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In Reply.  —The concerns expressed by Dr Cooper regarding the inappropriate use of DEA registration numbers are legitimate. In many respects, his letter echoes the DEA's long-stated policy regarding this problem.The insurance industry's policy of requiring the prescriber's DEA registration number as a condition for reimbursement is irresponsible. A significant portion of controlled substance diversion occurs through fraudulent prescriptions. Demanding that DEA numbers be furnished with all prescriptions, most of which do not otherwise require them, greatly increases the opportunities for misuse of DEA numbers. Despite the reservations expressed by the DEA, practitioners, pharmacists, and insurance firms continue the policy. They state, variously, that the DEA number is the only universal identifier available; there is no evidence that the requirement has increased diversion; or there is no law that prohibits the practice.This inappropriate use of DEA registration numbers has compromised the closed system of distribution. The insurance industry


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