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Many of these patients indicated they are unemployed or underemployed due to their medical conditions, and each additional visit to practitioners for the purpose of receiving another prescription takes a financial toll on them.Among the patients who commented in support of the rule were those who indicated that they live in rural areas.DATES: Effective Date: This rule is effective December 19, 2007. Caverly, Chief, Liaison and Policy Section, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, DC 20537, Telephone (202) 307-7297.SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background On September 6, 2006, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (71 FR 52724) proposing to amend its regulations to allow practitioners to provide individual patients with multiple prescriptions, to be filled sequentially, for the same schedule II controlled substance, with such multiple prescriptions having the combined effect of allowing a patient to receive over time up to a 90- day supply of that controlled substance.Commenters supporting the NPRM included six physician associations, including those representing anesthesiologists, pediatricians, and psychiatrists, and three state level licensing organizations; Page 64922 five nursing associations, including several nursing specialty associations; 3 pharmacy associations and 6 state boards of pharmacy; 17 organizations focusing on the treatment of pain and end of life issues; 8 other organizations; and individual commenters including 73 pain patients, 65 physicians or physicians' offices, 31 parents of children with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 30 individual citizens, 16 pharmacists, 5 nurses, and 2 physician's assistants.

Commenters opposing the NPRM included 1 organization focusing on the treatment of pain; 17 individual citizens; 8 physicians; 3 pharmacists or pharmacy workers; 2 parents of pain patients; 1 nurse; and 1 physician's assistant.

Some also stated that the trip is expensive and that the length of the trip exacerbates their conditions.

According to these commenters, implementation of the proposed rule would enable them to visit their prescribing practitioners less frequently, thereby lessening the foregoing difficulties.

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They noted that arranging rides is often difficult and that the drive to a practitioner may be several hours each way.

These commenters also identified reduced costs as a reason for their support of the proposed rule.

: Commenters who identified themselves as practitioners who prescribe controlled substances were, for the most part, strongly supportive of the proposed rule.

In such cases, some of these commenters added they believe having to make monthly visits to the practitioner is a hardship to patients who are already suffering.

It should be noted that some commenters who identified themselves as practitioners expressed a sharply contrasting view, asserting that patients who receive schedule II controlled substances should be seen in person at least once a month to ensure proper medical supervision and to lessen the likelihood of drug addiction and abuse.

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