Biden Admin to Halt Plans to Nix X-Waiver Require­ment

Summary and Analysis…

The new administration appears to be taking a different tact from the previous administration when it comes to rules related to the distribution of buprenorphine. According to the article, in the closing days of the Trump administration, guidelines were published that would have loosened the requirements for prescribing buprenorphine by physicians.

The new administration has decided to re-examine those guidelines. While some in the treatment community supported the Trump administration changes, others believed they could have led to “… a similar path of opioid overprescribing that was a major contributing factor to the nation’s opioid epidemic.”

Although the article says the Trump guidelines were no longer available on the Health and Human Services site, for the moment they seem to be available through a direct link: Announcement of Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder.

Excerpted from Addiction Professionnal

A decision made by HHS in the waning days of the Trump presidency to publish new guidelines that include an exemption from certain requirements under the Controlled Substances Act for physicians who are licensed under state law and possess DEA registration to prescribe buprenorphine appears to be poised for reversal under the Biden administration.

HHS on Jan. 14 announced plans to publish new Practice Guidelines for the Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder, which would eliminate the X-waiver requirement for DEA-licensed physicians. Late Monday, however, the Washington Post reported the new administration planned to reverse course, with a source telling the Post that the new guidelines “had significant legal and clinical concerns,” namely that HHS potentially lacked the authority to issue such guidelines that allowed for physicians to bypass requirements set by Congress.