American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

American Osteopathic Association Joins Efforts on Safe and Lawful Prescribing and Dispensing of Controlled Substances

Feb. 4, 2014 

(CHICAGO) — The American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the national professional membership organization for more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students, announced today that it has signed on as a stakeholder to a consensus document on the safe and lawful prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances. 

Beginning in September 2013, the AOA participated in a series of meetings with other medical associations, health care companies and pharmacies, including the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), to address actions each organization has taken to ensure the validity of controlled substance prescriptions. The stakeholders also evaluated how well these actions are working and whether they restrict the ability of patients who have a legitimate need and prescription for these medications to obtain them. 

The meetings resulted in a consensus statement recognizing the need to address the prescription drug epidemic and promote collaboration and coordination between the physicians who prescribe necessary medications to their patients as part of their treatment and the pharmacies responsible for filling prescriptions.  

Representatives will continue to meet to create guidelines that allow them to comply with various laws while improving communication and collaboration between each other in order to provide quality care to patients, including the prescribing and dispensing of medically necessary controlled substances. 

“The AOA recognizes the need for oversight of the prescribing and dispensing of opioids and other controlled substances to protect patients from the possibility of abuse or overdose and we fully support these precautions,” said AOA President Norman E. Vinn, DO. “However, we also want to make sure that the patients who are in legitimate need of these medications are able to get their valid prescriptions properly filled in a timely manner as part of a comprehensive treatment plan developed with their physician.” 

In addition to the AOA and the NABP, the following health care associations and companies have signed the consensus document: the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, Cardinal Hea​lth, CVS Caremark, Federation of State Medical Boards (observer), National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Community Pharmacists Association, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Rite Aid, and Walgreen Co. 

What is a DO?

DOs are licensed physicians who can prescribe medication and practice in all specialty areas, including surgery, in the United States. They complete approximately four years of medical school followed by graduate medical education through internship and residency programs typically lasting three to eight years. In addition, DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, providing them with an in-depth knowledge of the ways that illness or injury in one part of the body can affect another. As one of the fastest-growing segments of health care professionals in the nation, the number of DOs has grown more than 200% during the past 25 years.

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at

Media Contacts:

Nicole Grady
(312) 202-8038  

Vicki Martinka
(312) 202-8159​

Twitter: @AOAforMedia


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