Vol. 36 Iss. 3 - September 30, 2019

Chapter 21
Emergency Regulation

Title of Regulation: 18VAC85-21. Regulations Governing Prescribing of Opioids and Buprenorphine (adding 18VAC85-21-21).

Statutory Authority: §§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-2928.2 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Dates: September 18, 2019, through March 17, 2021.

Agency Contact: William L. Harp, M.D., Executive Director, Board of Medicine, 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300, Richmond, VA 23233, telephone (804) 367-4558, FAX (804) 527-4429, or email


Section 2.2-4011 B of the Code of Virginia states that agencies may adopt emergency regulations in situations in which Virginia statutory law or the appropriation act or federal law or federal regulation requires that a regulation be effective in 280 days or less from its enactment, and the regulation is not exempt under the provisions of § 2.2-4006 A 4 of the Code of Virginia.

The amendments add a section regarding electronic prescribing. Consistent with the Code of Virginia, beginning July 1, 2020, a prescription for a controlled substance that contains an opioid is required to be issued as an electronic prescription. The proposed regulation also provides a one-time waiver of this requirement for a maximum of one year if a practitioner can demonstrate economic hardship, technological limitations, or other exceptional circumstances beyond the practitioner's control.

18VAC85-21-21. Electronic prescribing.

A. Beginning July 1, 2020, a prescription for a controlled substance that contains an opioid shall be issued as an electronic prescription consistent with § 54.1-3408.02 of the Code of Virginia.

B. Upon written request, the board may grant a one-time waiver of the requirement of subsection A of this section, for a period not to exceed one year, due to demonstrated economic hardship, technological limitations that are not reasonably within the control of the prescriber, or other exceptional circumstances demonstrated by the prescriber.

VA.R. Doc. No. R20-6085; Filed September 18, 2019, 1:43 p.m.